I’m beginning to think I may be in for the fight of my life.
And this terrifies me.
I’ve always had an empathetic heart. In fact I can recall when I was in the third grade bursting into tears because my friend’s grandfather had unexpectedly died. As an adult, I suspect my tears may have had an ulterior motive, but nonetheless, my little heart was moved. When I was in high school, my dad introduced me to the harsh reality of young girls in India being held in brothels, forced to service customers until they inevitably contracted HIV/AIDS, and then were left under their beds to die. Without knowing it, a tiny little flame ignited in my heart. Selfish dreams, insecurities, and ambitions tempered the flame until I got to college and I found out about the genocide in Darfur. Soon after I heard the staggering number of those suspected to be currently enslaved and I was outraged, horrified, and overwhelmed. My passion, or so I thought, was the music industry. I wanted to be part of the “in” crowd because for so long I was rejected. I thought if I could ONLY be thanked in an album, or have a backstage pass, or say “I’m with the band” or tour or…. whatever, I would find my value. And yet in the midst of it all, I kept bumping into the horrors of slavery, trafficking, poverty, etc. While everyone else was watching the latest action flick, I was watching “Born into Brothels,” “Call and Reponse,” and any other piece of literature I could watch or read. Attending a World Vision meeting with Josh Wilson, I left angrily shouting that it seemed absurd they had samples of the life saving nutrient packets for us to taste when the 40+ industry people there were headed to our favorite restaurants for lunch. My heart was awakened and the flame was getting brighter but I didn’t know what to do with it. When I moved back to Colorado and started working in missions at a church, I thought it would finally bring some resolution to my inner turmoil. Boy was I wrong. If anything it made my unrest grow day by day. No longer can I sit around and not DO something. I’m intrigued and attracted to people working in modern social justice movements. I want to feed the hungry children AND bring them Christ. I want women in Africa to have clean air as they cook their meals and not worry about rising at 3am to walk 16 kilometers to get firewood while having the blessing to know the Word of God in their language. I want children to have the freedom to attend school without the burden of being missed on their farm or having to raise their younger siblings. I want to barge in to brothels and shoot the bad guys. But then my practical side kicks in – even admitting these desires and passions brings an intense amount of shame and embarrassment. What do I know about this? What do I have to offer? I was a mediocre college student with a business degree who has pretty much made copies for the last six years. Though I’ve never taken a photography class, owned any sort of decent camera, or really attempted photojournalism, my heart LEAPS at the idea of beautiful pictures and words in Africa, South America, or Asia showing not only the unspeakable devastation but the unimaginable beauty. I can’t begin to describe the longing in my heart to traipse around the world and solve these problems. Which again – goes back to my “savior” complex. I cannot save anyone or everyone. It is neither my responsibility, nor my calling. If I could do the last 7 years all over again – I don’t know if I’d do it the same way. I loved my time in the music industry, brief and minor as it was, but I fear I am coming face to face with my holy discontent and I’m terrified that it’s going to wreck the life I had planned out.
But then again – sometimes that sort of wrecking is what brings us back to where we were supposed to be all along.