One thing that is always assured for me in living in downtown Los Angeles is that I will see devastation. I will see real and raw human need on a daily basis.
When people visit me it is the thing they quietly say to me at the end of the day, “Did you see that guy…” or “That one lady earlier who…”
If you’re lucky, you won’t grow numb to it.
If you’re lucky, it will continue to rip at your insides when you see it.
Back in February when I was on my way to see the documentary mentioned in my last post I was texting my friend Rachel (who is a brilliant human, and you should all read/become obsessed with her blog, I know I’m obsessed with it/her) and I was telling her about the subject of the documentary. She thought it sounded mildly interesting but she said, “I’m honestly kind of at the point where I don’t care anymore–there are way bigger things in my mind than people’s opinions on sex.”
It was funny then, and it’s funny now because I’ve actually been chewing on those words for awhile, in regards to all kinds of topics.
In the scheme of humankind, of finding homes for the homeless, of the matter of police brutality, of people being hungry, lonely, hurt, scared… When we step back and care about things bigger than ourselves and our theological arguments, how many more important issues are there for us to set our focus on?
Some of my favorite people around me are the other people who stay up at night thinking about the half naked woman they saw stumbling across a busy street that disappeared before they could try to help her.
Because that matters more.
More than the stupid things we find ourselves complaining and concerning about.
I am from a very small town, and I’ve been living in Los Angeles for a few years now. Like most people who leave their small town for somewhere bigger, it can be difficult to relate well back to the small town life. A lot of people have this misconception that it’s condescending mentality of I’ve lived in this big city, so I know more.
I don’t think it’s that, or at least it isn’t for me, it’s more that my eyes see a lot more. See more than they ever have, more each day. Things I can’t un-see; violence, need, sadness, true joy, real hope, second chances.
Yes, there are so many opinions I used to hold that I don’t anymore.
Yes, so many priorities that have changed.
And I’m okay with that, because I’m still me.
When I’m laying awake and thinking of how we could all rally and save the world in seven easy steps, and then I realize maybe my plan won’t work and I get depressed about it again, I am reminded of the verse in Revelations.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
This isn’t forever, this isn’t eternity yet.
Pain has a final end.
But don’t look away now, don’t stop fighting, don’t stop trying to meet needs.