This has nothing to do with gun control, abortion, or any other hot topic issue (although if you would like to debate, I am here!) but what has really been on my heart is the sanctity of life, and how I believe we all fall short on preserving “life,” or at least, I certainly do.
Now, this isn’t to say that it’s the same as shooting in a school, or any other violent act where people die needlessly. It usually isn’t premeditated, but sometimes, it is. Is it a big deal? I don’t know. I don’t know how we got from sitting on our porches in the summer so we could visit with our neighbors, to not knowing who said neighbors are. Everybody is busy; lots has been said on that. But I think the “neutral evil” creeping in to our society is indifference.
I think we are in danger of destroying lives by simply not caring. We all understand that absolutely everyone and their grandmother are busy and tired. I think we need to just get over that. I don’t think it will ever change, well, at least, I’ve lost hope. So if we are going to be busy and tired forever, we will eventually have to just suck it up and ignore it. Now that we have dealt with the biggest excuses for not caring, let’s give it a “check” and move on.
How do we not care? I remember moving into this rural area, and driving by other vehicles on the gravel roads (yes, there are roads here that haven’t been paved yet.) As I would meet up with other vehicles, I remember them, especially the older folks, waving frantically with a big smile on their face. I would ignore them, at first, because I didn’t know them and it must be a mistake. Now I realize that is probably precisely why they were waving: they didn’t know me! That was fun to get used to. Now I can navigate the snowy, ice-covered gravel road in the dead of winter, and wave at the same time. We also have four wheel drive.
This reminds me of what is must have been like, back in the day, in SmallTown Canada. Everybody knows you, you know everybody, and you said “Hi” to everyone you meet. If there was a need in town, you’d work together to fix it. People would go to town to visit, they would sit and have coffee. They would chat about the mundane, and the important. They watched each other’s children grow up.
What does this have to do with the sacredness of life? Everywhere around us, there is pain and hurt. But we can’t care anymore. Some people seem to drain the life out of us. We just have nothing left to give. Whatever the reason is, people will stand in an elevator for an undetermined amount of time, 18 inches away, and not make eye contact. We will sit next to each other on a bus, touching jackets, and not say hi. We will go through a checkout at the store, and not ask how the cashier is doing. We will see pictures of a friend’s family portrait on facebook, and not bother to click “like.” We will see a friend’s status about pain in their life, or other drama we don’t want to bear witness to, and we just scroll down. These are little, minuscule things. They are certainly not the end of the world. I don’t even know that they are “sins.” But the end result is the same. We are telling each other: you don’t matter. Your life is not important to me.
I can’t count how many times in the last few weeks, with the busyness of a wedding and Christmas, I have not been able to show our children that they matter, in the little things. When they ask you to come “see something right away!” And I finish what I am doing, really quick, but the magic is gone. I have shown them that they don’t matter as much as the dishes.
Because there’s scientific “life,” and think whatever you may want of that, and then there is LIFE. The core of me and you. The physical, emotional, spiritual, every component wrapped up into one whole person. The ending of a heartbeat is not the only death you can feel. People can die emotionally, to the point where they don’t care anymore.
I remember working in a coffeeshop, so many days, and all of a sudden having this wave of epiphany. “These people don’t care about me. They wouldn’t care if I lived or died, as long as the new girl learned to make their coffee right.” Everyday I would serve the same people their drinks, smile, chat with them about their problems, and yet, to them, I was a nobody. We were not actually friends; I worked for them and served them, and they would tip me a dime. My whole life felt like an utter complete waste. I got over it and married one of the customers, but the point is the same. Everyone feels that they are unimportant at some time in their lives. I imagine, a lot of people reading this feel that their life doesn’t matter. They won’t actually do anything drastic, but what a heaviness it must be to get out of bed, to go about your day, when you feel that you don’t count, that what you do makes no difference to the rest of the world. That there is no point. This is when the indifference comes full circle.
How many times have I walked by a person who feels no love by the world, and not smiled. Or said, “My, your baby is cute!” “Merry Christmas!” Or seen the miserable lady in the checkout, and not said, “I love your jacket.” None of this is earth shattering. Telling the tired mom her baby is beautiful is not going to help her get more sleep. Smiling at a stranger is not going to pay his bills. But it’s the only way I can think of to show them that their life is important. That I see you. And I see your struggles. Can’t do a darn thing about it, but I love you. Your life is sacred to me. You matter.
Once we stop caring about people, really, what is the difference. Obviously, it’s not an utterly heinous act that will land you straight in the pit of hell. Not liking a friend’s stupid meme on facebook is not telling them they don’t matter to you. But when we stop caring about the people we see each day in real life and on the Net, and their lives, their struggles, their hurts, I believe we are saying to each other: You are not important to me. You do not matter. Your life is not sacred.
After my last blog, and all the feedback I received, I got really nervous about writing another. I had no idea what I would write about, thought about it a few times, and nothing. But then a couple days ago, I felt this on my Spirit so heavy. I felt God saying that ALL life, every aspect is sacred. We need to show others that their lives matter. Their picture of their dog in a tuxedo matters. Their text matters. Their car stalled on the side of the road, it matters. The people in the mall matter. We see each other, and our lives and the things we do are so important. We are not just walking through this mess of a life with our eyes down, not starting a conversation, but with our eyes up and a smile on our lips, happy to see you.
If you don’t feel like you matter to anyone, please message me. I would love to chat about the Best Friend you’ll ever know. But if you know you are important and that your life is held so dear, share that feeling with everyone you meet.
Hope you have a Merry Christmas. I love you!