Was just reading about the team of four from church who braved the aftershocks and travelled to Nepal to provide medical relief to a village tucked away in the mountains -too far for the government to provide their help to. So much respect for every single one of them. They are our modern day unsung heroes
As I read on, a quote I had heard before in church floated to mind:
The opposite of love is not hate
The opposite of love is indifference
I didn’t understand it initially. ‘Isn’t the opposite of love, hate?’ I thought. You either love someone or you hate someone. But as I listened, I began to realise in my heart that it is true.
If you love something, you’d hate the thing that corrupts it.
If you love children, you’d hate child trafficking
If you love animals, you’d hate poaching
If you love people, you’d hate when they have their basic human rights taken away from them
You can be living so close to these things that they are a daily reality you see constantly; yet your heart can be miles away, locked up, closed off and safe. I was in that place once.
I lived in Pakistan for four years where I saw these things on a daily basis. Now I know, immediately when you think of Pakistan, your mind brings you images of a war zone -much like how CNN and BBC shows it. But interestingly, when I think back of my four years living there, that’s not what comes to mind -at least not immediately.
When I think back, I think of misty cool mornings on the way to school on wide and empty streets -because the town was still fast asleep. I think of my summer, and excitedly getting out of bed every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for soccer practice with my all-girls team at the pitch on the edge of the city. I think of sleepovers at my friends’ houses where we’d prank the first person to sleep, and then bawl our eyes out watching The Notebook for the 10th time.The only casualties of which were our half a dozen tissue boxes that were left empty in the living room.
However, dig deeper and I find peppered between memories of lazy Sunday mornings, and days out at the local flea market were actually also many memories of frantic phone calls, school-wide evacuations, news of bombings and riots that would bring the city to a standstill.
But why was it that it took some searching to find these? It’s certainly not because the positive emotions outweighed the negative. In fact, some studies would argue that fear is a very strong and potent emotion, not one to be easily forgotten.
Then I remembered. I remembered what my friends would say in the midst of my panic and overwhelming fear of those moments: Oh, another threat? They’re probably just bluffing.
The fear on my face immediately betraying the fact that I was new to the country. New and untarnished, new and unhardened.
As they orientated me to life in Pakistan, I remember remarks like:
They should just get a job instead of begging. If you give them money, it would just encourage this kind of behaviour. Just ask them to go away
You see that mother with the sunburnt and hungry baby? She’s not going to use the money to feed it, she’s probably going to buy drugs with it
A riot? What is it about now? Oh, if only it went on longer so we’d have another day off from school while it’s shut down for safety
Now don’t get me wrong, my friends are not evil people – I certainly do not think that they are. But what I do see, are people who have found a coping mechanism to protect themselves as they live among, and see, situations that break their hearts on a daily basis. They are people who think the problem in front of them too big, and themselves too insignificant to make a difference, that they have given up before they even start. I don’t condemn them, in fact I feel for them.
Looking back, I am thankful to know that I have a God in my life Who gives me hope, Who makes me dare to dream that I and we CAN make a difference in our world. Even if it is just one life, it is worth it
A wise man once said:
Don’t tell God how big your problem is
Tell your problem how big God is
It takes courage and strength to love. Dare to love.