One of my team leaders for the Uganda/Kenya trip sent us a video of one of the places we might be visiting this winter. I didn’t want to watch it. I knew I’d cry. Because part of me, as much as I fell in love with Africa, doesn’t want to go back. I don’t want to acknowledge that there are places where children don’t have parents, where they are often eating less in a day (or couple of days) than I might eat in an entire meal, where they are threatened by violence and harm, where they have to walk miles and miles for (sometimes clean) water, where children miss an education because they have to help provide for their families. I don’t want to acknowledge that our world is that broken. I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to feel it.
And that alone speaks of my privileged existence.
I live in a country where I can ignore suffering fairly easily. I live in a country where you don’t generally see starving people because we have grocery stores and quick-marts that are open 24/7, and where we have government sponsored coupons for a basic diet if you can’t afford to buy one yourself. I live in a country where systematic, state-sponsored violence is (for the most part) rare. I can choose not to acknowledge that children halfway around the world do suffer. Daily. My world can exist without that type of suffering.
So I really didn’t want to watch that video. I didn’t want to clutter my clean little American existence with the pain of knowing someone around the world was suffering in some form or fashion. But I know that’s not what I’m called to. I know that we have to look, we have to remember. Just because we can ignore it does not mean we should.
I want to invite you to see this. The people are singing to some boys who have been in Ugandan prison cell for two weeks. The Lord is holy, even amidst our broken world.