I'm not one to complain or point fingers and NOT offer a solution to the world's madness; so here it is:
As frustrating and as painful as inequality may be to recognize, it is the recognition that something needs to change which gives us the opportunity to make a difference. If you are sensitive to something, act on that feeling. Recognize that we are have various levels of awareness when it comes to social need- some gravitate toward justice, others to domestic violence, alcoholism, health care, homes, physical needs, spiritual needs, psychological needs, education...Then there are some who are completely unaware altogether.
We wonder why there's so much unhappiness in our world. What I find interesting is much of this unhappiness is expressed by those of us who have more than enough. While it's easy to look at those less fortunate and pity them or get angry for the inequality of the world, in speaking with people who have survived great hardship, you'll find that many of them are individuals built of incredible strength. I was shocked at how strong the women I met through the Violence Against Women Program at BYU were. These were no longer victims of domestic abuse or rape; they were survivors, and they were speaking out as a force to be reckoned with. These women were strong, they were safe now, and they were not about to let one more woman feel as trapped, insecure, afraid, or helpless in their presence. When asked about her experiences, one woman essentially said, "It has made me stronger, I am sad that it happened like this, but I know what I'm made of now." The bravery, strength and wisdom of these women was an inspiration to me and many others. They were courageous survivors, and they were taking their horrific experiences and using their recovery to help others by educating, speaking out, and living lives as survivors- not victims- thus helping other individuals experiencing the same kind of abuse to recognize that a life in fear was not the only outcome. These survivors serve as an example and inspiration to me and I thank them for their newfound confidence and strength.
When we were in Africa, surrounded by disease and the inescapable weight of poverty, one thing became clear: As horrific as their circumstances were- AIDS, disease, pestilence, death, abandonment, children without parents or homes- the people we worked with and saw on the street found happiness. They found faith. They found joy in one another's success. It was overwhelming to realize that, as Carol said, “How is it that, in a place where they have nothing, everyone believes in God, but yet, in America, where we have everything, people question if God even exists?” I've been in a lot of impoverished countries, but what made Kenya so completely overwhelming was the realization that the culture itself was based on giving. If someone knew the alphabet, she was teaching it to anyone who would listen. If someone had a hut, that hut would inevitably hold as many street children as they could. We saw a people with nothing; they saw every thing they had as a gift they could share.
So where is my solution to the emptiness, the frustration, and the pain of this world? Part of the problem is we've developed into a society that is filled with "things." Even those who are "Christians" have fallen into the culture of consumerism and we've become distracted by things- objects designed to fulfill us and make us feel good. We've hazed into a culture that expects validation and acceptance through consumption of material goods or climbing a ladder to get a title, when really, everything we have to give is already within us. Being self-aware enough to find it through our sensitivities and then finding the inspiration to act on that awareness is a start. The more we give of ourselves, the more we realize that our experiences- even our pain- can make us stronger. Strong enough to help another in need. Recognize this and you will recognize that your life can make a difference- if you are brave enough to give of yourself.