Friday, September 09, 2005

confessions

I haven’t watched a single bit of the news about the hurricane. I check the headlines when I check my email, but I have not been able to bring myself to sit, glued to the television, for hours on end. Between the obvious, heart-wrenching devastation and the nauseating political posturing, it is just more than I can bear to subject myself to.

When 9/11 happened, I was glued to the television, around the clock, for days, if not weeks. I can’t do it again. I sobbed for days—depression lingered for months. I don’t expect you to feel sorry for me. I lost nothing that day. But I felt it all, nonetheless.

Africa. India. China. Indonesia. South America. New Orleans. I avoid them, shamefully looking away, shielding my heart from the contagiousness of their suffering. Shielding my heart from feeling what they feel—from feeling, indeed, at all.

I’ve lived my life this way for far too long—partially a result of the fear of man that plagues me from time to time, whispering in my ear, again, that I am “too much.” The sensitivity I feel is too much for myself sometimes, let alone those who don’t understand it. But more directly it is a result of conditioning over time—a child whose hand has been burned is not quick to work at the stove again. Self-protection has taught me to turn down the dial on the emotional burner to “low” in an effort not to repeat injury. Movies, news, reality—all avoided in an effort to protect my heart and maintain the illusion that it is whole.

But the truth is, I really want my heart to be broken—for friends, for children, for the poor, the lost, the needy. For orphans in Africa and victims of the sex slave trade in Central America and refugees from all walks of life, including my own. For friends in hard marriages and friends without marriages and friends who just can’t get their heads above water. For clients and coworkers and co-laborers in Christ—I want to lay my heart before the Lord and ask, Here it is. Please break it as yours is broken.

But oh, the risk in that prayer. Can I really bear to have the heart of Christ for the world? I can hardly bear having the heart of Christ for my own children, let alone a big, miserable globe full of them, hearts broken, bodied broken, lives broken. Wounds that will not heal. I have not asked yet, I am ashamed to say. But you’ll know when I do.

Believe me, you’ll know when I do…

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hurricane Katrina has been a way for me to keep my mind off a disappointment that happened just before this disaster. I watch and hear the stories about all the people devastated by the flood in New Orleans and I don't feel so bad. These people truly have it worse off.

lorie said...

I agree completely- and that gives me the perspective I need to put my own puny little problems back where they belong. I can just get so easily overwhelmed by all of it- it's as if I have no filter or overflow valve, and it becomes too much, sometimes.

Professor said...

If we are this puny and helpless before creation, imagine how much smaller and helpless we are before the Creator. If it weren't for the Blood, where would we be?

lorie said...

Amen, Alan. Thank you for reminding us of the obvious.

Karen said...

Wow, Lorie - I thought you were describing me for a minute there. I didn't watch the first few days of news about the Hurricane disaster 1) because my TV is messed up and the picture is fuzzy, and 2) the real reason is I knew I would be cast into an emotional rollercoaster, FEELING all these feelings of what people must have been going through, losing their homes, possessions, loved ones, or even their own lives. Fortunately Deanne has provided coverage for me to watch on her TV - and it was all I could do to not want to drive down South to help out in some way - except that I would have an emotional breakdown myself once I got there and be good for nobody. Some of those stories just absolutely rip your guts out - and I find myself crying out to God with all those wretched questions that don't have any answers except that God is good and He is in control - no matter what we face on earth. I know what you mean about other areas of the world that are in chaos or devastation, and well, I have to admit I am guilty of taking the same approach you talked about. I DID watch Hotel Ruwanda the other night, but of course it brought heaving sobs as I processed it later on the way home - sometimes I don't understand how God's heart can take the violence and evil that is wrought on this earth... BTW, Thanks for your honesty - it takes courage to say what's really in your heart - especially when you have the heart of a psalmist.

lorie said...

Thanks, Karen. A psalmist, eh? I'll take that as a compliment...