Today’s guest blogger is Staci. Here at EOR Staci is always one amazing supporter. From our pleas for dresses being made for the girls in Ethiopia, to our need for votes in the Classy awards, to her generous donations, Staci is a constant supporter of EOR and we are grateful for her! To read her personal blog please visit here.
I recently wrote on my personal blog about the burden of knowing. How when our eyes are opened, when we see and vicariously experience what human suffering is, it is hard to live with that knowledge.
Why? Because the mantle of responsibility is heavy and descends swiftly. I think we humans know this, and so when we see titles of news articles about people starving in a far away place, or experiencing violence, we don’t want to see it. We turn the page, close our eyes and tell ourselves we will read it when we are in a better emotional place. I don’t want to be depressed today. We don’t want to face the staggering numbers, the stark reality, because the burden of knowing often makes us feel badly.
For example, you, or I just bought our kid $30 new shoes. We don’t want to feel badly about it, his feet are wide, inexpensive mock brand ones don’t fit, the used children’s store is far away, and Zappos has overnight free shipping. It is what it is, right? Why should we have to fuss about it?
Or we just signed our daughter up for dance classes. $70 a month. We are excited about it, it’s going to be wonderful, we don’t want to think about how far that money would go in Ethiopia.
Or we just went on a date, $30 babysitter, $40 dinner, it had been a long time, we wanted to go out…we don’t want to feel badly, darnit!
When we know what is out there, facing it in its horror involves emotion, a little guilt and it is not a comfortable juxtaposition to question what we spend, what we spend it on, and why when set against a backdrop of this Knowledge. We want to live our lives free of this heavy burden.
I have tried to shut it out, turn it off, not think about it, not click on the links to news stories, or first hand witness’ accounts of what is happening in ___________. But strangely, this doesn’t relieve the burden.
As if there were a yoke on my shoulders, weighing me down, the burden grows more and more. I feel like I am wearing a Scarlet Letter, H, emblazoned on every shirt for all the world to see, where H stands for Hypocrite. And though I know no one can see my conflict with what I know is the discrepancy between “where my heart is” and where my “treasure is” I know it is there, and the feeling gets heavier and heavier until I must do something. I start dreading the mail for the Sundance Catalog will surely be singing its siren song telling me what I need to feel happy. But know it’s a lie. My burden would still be there, all the heavier.
There is only one thing to be done: put my money where my mouth and really, heart are. In the same moment wherein I write the check, or click “send” for an online donation to aid fellow humans, I feel my burden lessened. It is a tangible, visceral feeling, that when when I offer relief, I receive it tenfold.
I am grateful to Ethiopian Orphan Relief for reminders about what projects they are working on, and what they need, and giving me the occasional privilege of seeking relief through their wonderful organization.