This Beating Broken Heart


ImageEach morning, the voices and images of people across the globe flood my second floor as I prepare for the day.  Through the amazing gift of technology, Brian Williams catches me up on the latest news in our world.

Women weep and cling to one another in a Chinese hotel as they await answers from the disappearance of their family and friends.  Men attempt to win the battles of wars waged by greed, power, and pride that parade as politics. And then they feature a special on the children of Syria.

Before I can can even consent, Love drags my hand into the NICUs of the hospitals in Lebanon and I hear the statistics.  I follow the cameras that go to check on a woman who has returned to her plastic box that is “home” with her baby boy who is only hours old.  My heart is broken.

My own baby boy wakes and the news shuts off.

I walk back downstairs and I can’t help but notice how dry everything is as the roof shelters us from the clouds above us.  I notice my clothes that are clean and presentable.  I greet my child whose crises are not crises of suffering but of inconvenience.  He has all he needs: daytime/nighttime diapers, warmed wipes, heat in the winter, pantry overflowing, lights and lamps, clean reliable water, clothing spilling out of drawers, healthy parents.

When I let down the walls of ignorance and avoidance, it shatters my heart into a million pieces: the injustice of our world, the despair of humanity, the reality that some children face the same question every day – “will I live to see the sun rise again?”

It rises from whispers to screams within me.  It begs the question: what is my responsibility as one with access to resources and situated in a land of plenty?  What is my responsibility as a child of the One who weeps over the cries of creation groaning in devastation?

I no longer seek to be a child of the culture that compartmentalizes others into categorizes in an attempt to distance myself from the suffering of another.  And I have no desire to become another person of privilege who supports a paternalistic, dominant, hierarchical system where I am “hero” and they are the “least of these” (a term that always seems more like an insult than a reflection of God’s heart).

I search for organizations that are addressing the needs of the most desperate.  I look up the CBF field personnel that are working in the area and wonder about ways we can offer support.

I distance myself from the mindless pleasures that used to lure me into worlds of luxury, greed, and ignorance.  I spend more time with my Kindle where I lean into the pain of humanity through Ishmael, Leymah, Hazel, and Liesel.  I attempt to avoid the pull of coffee shops so that our finances reflect for whom our hearts beat.

And yet, there is little I can “do” that stops the bleeding of another worlds away.  So I clear away the clutter built up over the years by selfishness, pride, and greed.  I reach in and offer up a beating broken heart.  I hand it over – it is no longer only mine.

This beating broken heart marvels in fear and awe…
…at the fragility of life as seen in the pain that a fellow human is capable of inflicting.
…at the power of life as seen in the suffering a fellow human is capable of enduring.

I listen to see if there is a way God will invite me to love my global neighbor.  And I climb up in the pulpit of my own heart and preach the words of hope to myself.  Slowly, I lean in and trust in the God who hears people’s cries right this very moment, worlds away, and is actively working to bring safety and hope to all … through the love of family, through the love of humanitarian aid, and even maybe, in mystery and beyond comprehension, through the love of this beating broken heart.

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