Apathy. An enemy that relentlessly plagues us all. It tells us to settle, that we can do no great things, that we can’t make a difference.
It tells us that there is nothing that we can do about the pain that burdens this planet. It says there is nothing you can do about the starving children in Africa. There’s nothing you can offer the trafficked girl in India, your voice isn’t loud enough to advocate for the voiceless.
Apathy says you can’t, so you shouldn’t even try. It has a way of sucking the passion straight out of your bones.
That starving child, well he is continents away, how are you to care for him? The girl who is raped multiple times a day, well that is sad, but what are you supposed to do about it?
It’s all tragedy, but because it’s not happening right in front of us, we choose to look the other way.
But it is happening in front in you. Thanks to the moden era we know all too much about the tragedy around the world. It’s in the news, in the books and all over the internet.
It’s just like William Wilberforce said, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
So if we all know, why aren’t we doing anything about it?
The other day, a skinny, dirty child came up to me begging for my juice. He was half-clothed and wielding a feather duster, dusting cars to earn a couple of cents to buy food. I wanted my juice, so I settled with giving him a high-five and walking away.
I justified it by saying that he was his mother’s responsibility, not mine. If he really needed the juice I am sure that someone else will give it to him. I wouldn’t make any difference.
In that moment I am ashamed to say that my apathy won out.
The truth is that it would have made a difference, to him and to God. I can’t feed all the beggar children in the world, but I could have fed him..
And that counts for something.
We can do something about it, all of it. It is the belief that we can’t that allows things like that to happen as much as they do.
One act of generosity is one less starving kid, one act of love is one less lonely person. If we all did that there would be a lot less pain in the world.
We have to find a weapon to overcome our apathy, we have got to get a way to get our passion back.
I want to be that person who’s late to work because I was making friends with the homeless person outside my office. I want to be that woman who has to walk back into Starbucks five minutes later because I gave my coffee away to someone who needed it more than I did.
I want to be a relentless lover.
But half of the time I don’t know how to get there. How do I suddenly care for something that I didn’t before?
Here’s my secret, I will myself to. To be honest, half of the time I don’t overflow with love for the beggar who is yanking on my clothes. I’ve got to make a decision in my heart to care.
And that, I believe, makes all the difference.
Michael Phelps didn’t become the strongest swimmer in the 2008 olympics by jumping in a pool one day, he made the decision to be a great swimmer and worked on it everyday.
It’s the same with us. We have to make a decision to care, to love, everyday. That’s how we beat apathy, we make a decision to care even when we don’t feel like it.
When I am feeling apathetic I write an encouraging note to someone, it works everytime.
My point is that we can make a difference. We can change the world. And it starts by making a decision to love when we don’t feel like it.
I don’t care how old or young you are, or the color of your skin, or how much money you have. You can change the world.
Don’t let apathy tell you that you can’t.
How will you change the world?