Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Several years ago I read "The Secret Life of Bees". There's this odd character in it named May. She's ...well, different. Fragile. Special. In almost every scene May must run away, to her crying wall. You see, May feels things more deeply. When she thought someone else was sad she took that sadness as her own. She cried and cried at her wall as she stuck their pain between it's cracks. When another character was presumed dead it was too much. May took her own life. The pain literally killed her.

Sometimes I feel like May. And I imagine all the characters in my life, still sitting around the kitchen table after I run away crying thinking, poor Heather. Poor naive girl. She wants to change the world. She thinks she can change the world. Or, she thinks she should change the world. Or she thinks she must change the world. But they would be wrong. I don't think any of those things.

My Dad thinks I do or think a certain way out of guilt. He's wrong. I don't feel guilty because I get to eat today. But while I am eating I can see a hungry child in my mind, that hasn't eaten for months and his body has begun to decay from the effects of kwashiorkor. I know he is in pain because his skin is cracking and bleeding and his is eating himself from the inside out. I want to hold him and comfort him and feed him. I don't feel guilty because I have a house, but it does remind me of the 100's of thousands still living in tent cities since the earthquake in Haiti. Don't you see, guilt has nothing to do with it! And it is cheap and belittling to think it does. People are hurting in this world. And I feel it. All. The Time. I see them trying to hold out the rain and mud from their tent while their baby cries because she is hungry and hot. If I close my eyes I can instantly be in a hospital in Cite Soleil watching a young first time mother labor alone on a blood covered floor. She is scared and in pain and no one has time or resources to help her because she is one of many who scream and labor and bleed. I feel THEM. Do you get the difference? I don't feel guilt. What a waste of energy. I feel the people, their humanity. When I read about an AIDS orphan dying alone and scared in an African orphanage there is no time for guilt. I feel outrage. I cry for him. I pray for him. I want to go to him. What if it was Daniel? What if Jason and I had already died of the disease and now he lay wasting away with no one to advocate for him? What good would guilt do??? No seriously. I'm asking y0u? Guilt, in my opinion, is an American luxury. And if you are indulging in it then you are wasting precious energy and resources. We have no time for guilt people. Stop feeling guilty and start feeling.

1 comment:

Emily said...

I too feel like May, but I often take on the pain within my community. I believe that your empathy for a bleeding and broken world is the heart of Christ. He feels the pains of this world and the closer we are to Him, the more we will feel them also. Love you and your heart.