Friday, September 18, 2015

Out of Ashes

     Humans have a history of rising up out of ashes. Our very origins in history come from ashes. Adam, meaning "of the earth" or "from the earth." There is a pattern to the human experience. We suffer, then survive. We rule, then thrive. We kill, then lie. We fade, then die.

     I think life takes a similar path. Most of us have figured out some level of suffering. Some more and some less. Everyone perceives suffering in a different way. None more disastrous than the other to the person going through it. White privileged men kill themselves at a higher rate than poor minorities. Many would look at their lives and ask, "Why?" Me too.

     Recently. I've been reading about the plight of black people in America; in particular those during the civil rights movement. I read these historical accounts and it makes me cry. I look at my life as a man that at one time didn't want to live and it makes me ashamed. I read a book by Elie Wiesel, a Jew in the concentration camps. It makes me sick what he endured. I read these things and I am disgusted by my privilege. I am lucky to have been born into a successful nation. I am lucky to not have been a black person anywhere before or during the fifties. I am lucky to not have been Jewish man in the 40's. Not because they were bad, but because humanity was particularly bad.

     Right now, there are refugees fleeing Syria. The world is scrambling, seemingly trying to find a way NOT to take them in. I live in prosperity. Everything I have belongs to God. It comes from God. It will go back to God. I have space I can free up.

     Despite the horror going on around the world, we still have our own horror here. There is a poverty of a different kind going on here. This is a poverty of the mind...and heart. We have too much. We get upset when we can't get the knew phone that has been released. We whine about our economy, yet we have 3-4 televisions in our homes. There is this photo of a kid in Africa that won a Pulitzer prize (I have hope that the photographer also fed the child after snapping his prize). It depicts a starving child collapsed to the ground as a vulture waits for him to die to feed on him. But...the new iPhone is here and I can't afford it right now.

     At this very moment, I have an iPhone 6. I'm the cool guy. There is nothing wrong or everything wrong with this. It's a matter of where your heart lies. For me, I need to do better because I think doing better and helping people makes hurting people feel better. It is a reminder that hurt is a constant all over the world and is a majority experience of the human experience.

     These last 5 or 6 years, I've really given up on feeling bad for other people. I've lost some people that were very close to me and all I see is the mess they left as they passed through. They destroyed my family.

     But here my family is. My wife is laying 10 feet from me on the couch, because it makes her feel better to be close to me. 2 of my kids are sleeping in their beds. Both of them told me I was the best dad in the world today. So all is not lost. I have what God intends for me to have. I am safe. I am loved. I am blessed. But I am still sad. Because no one is in charge of a person's perception of loss.

     America is a sad place to be if you really open your eyes. This poverty of heart is killing us. For me, two boys that took me in, and loved me as brothers, grew up with me. At some point they found a way to make their hurt go away and the rest of ours spiral out of control.

     But I am here now. Right here in this place with these people that I have left. They love me very much. I love very much and I'm quite ready to rise up out of the ashes.


Thanks for reading...Z