Tuesday, January 19, 2010


[[switching to first person]]

I have to confess something. And it isn't easy to confess. I think I am a product of the television generation. We've seen so much on television, that nothing seems to phase people like me. Or maybe I shouldn't include any generalizations and just talk about me.

The first night I heard about the earthquake, I felt a little pang of regret for those poor people. But after? I have to confess that I am ashamed that I feel so little. After years of watching CSI and going through Vietnam and 9/11 and the Tsunami a few years ago and Hurricane Katrina and all we have been through in this world, perhaps I am desensitized. Perhaps a part of my soul has been swept clean of compassion. Perhaps there is so much suffering in the world that I am feeling hopeless to help and that hopelessness turns to the defense mechanism of non-caring.

It's not with pride that I make this confession. It's with regret and guilt. There is so much suffering in the world. What can we do? Okay, this week we pour resources into Haiti. Meanwhile, some African nation still has half its population starving. For each death we hear about in Haiti, there are the same number or more in this country in cancer deaths, car accidents, fires, senseless violence and family squabbles. We don't hear about each one of those and yet those families suffer too.

Someone once asked Jesus about the poor. I remember his answer: "The poor will always be among you." Isn't that the truth. There is just no way to help them all. You can't go to a store today without five or six jars vying for your attention for this poor family with a child needing medical care or this family that lost their home to a fire. Everyone wants help and I am not saying they don't need it. All I am saying is that it is overwhelming.

Perhaps it has to do with that Hierarchy of Needs chart I remember from Psychology 101 in college. Since my job was eliminated and moved to Georgia, I have been in survival mode myself for the past year and a half. Mercifully, we are hanging in there. But right now, I have to care for me and my own before I can care about anyone else. Perhaps I am just selfish.

All I know is that hundreds of thousands of people are suffering in Haiti and around the world. I applaud you if your conscious dictates you to help. I applaud you if you dial that text number to help. I applaud you and admire you if your heart aches for what you have seen and heard about. I'm just not there right now. And that's doesn't make me feel very good.


Josh Borenstein said...

I kind of feel the same way. Tragedies generally don't affect me unless it's someone I personally know or someone I admire.

rufuswashere said...

This is a brave thing to write. And it's ok in my book to admit it -- after all, it would be far worse to pretend.

I strongly suspect we all have our moments where we don't share the passions or concerns of others, no matter how strong those are.

Francisco Serrano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Francisco Serrano said...

I found that the Zeitgeist Movie Addendum had a lot of answers to your questions.
Forget the conspiration theories of the first part, I really beleive the Venus Project has the tools for human kind to solve these issues.

Hope it helps: