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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ignorance is Bliss

I'm just back from North Carolina, attending my grandmother's funeral.

I got the news that my Grandma passed on Thursday morning. I needed to make it up to North Carolina to be with my family -- but with Dan in Africa I wasn't quite sure how to go about it. Purchasing $800 plane tickets for myself and all five kids was clearly out of the question. In fact, flying alone with all five kids was clearly out of the question.

I considered loading everyone up in the Yukon and making the long drive by myself. And I thought about looking for babysitters for the weekend.

In the end, I was able to purchase a plane ticket with skymiles and several precious friends and family members offered to help out so I could travel alone to the funeral. Well, almost alone. This was my travel companion getting herself all buckled in on the airplane:

Baby Charlotte was the obvious candidate to join me on the trip. Mostly because she flies for free, still being under the age of two. But also because she is a little, delicious ball of pure delight and being around her makes people happy.

A number of family members thanked me for bringing Baby C along this weekend. In the way that only a 21 month old can do, she lightened the very heavy mood and the sadness of the day.

During the funeral, she sang and danced and paraded up and down the aisle of the church until I finally had to take her outside. She could be joyful and carefree while the rest of us were sad because, truly, she had no idea what was going on. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

It actually sounds pretty nice, doesn't it?

There are matters over which I wish I could claim this same blissful ignorance in my own life. In this world, there's such hurt and suffering. There's poverty and sickness and injustice -- and sometimes I wish I could just close my eyes and pretend none of it exists.

Sometimes I'd like to be like Baby Charlotte -- to sing and dance and parade my way through life without a care for all this heavy orphan care, third world stuff that we do with SixtyFeet. Sometimes I want to spend my money irresponsibly and spend my time wastefully. And sometimes I do. But I'm not proud of it.

The emails Dan has sent me from Uganda, just this week, have cut me to my core. The things that he's seen and experienced on this one, single trip -- some of them are just plain shocking.

Sometimes I wish I didn't know so much about this stuff. But I do. And if you regularly read this blog or read anything on the internet or watch the news or read a newspaper... you know too. You don't have to run an orphan ministry to know these things.

Today, over 20,000 children died of preventable diseases, such as malaria. Today, more than one billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. Today, over half the people who live in Uganda live in extreme poverty, on less than $1.00 a day.

And because we know about it, we are obligated to help.

"Don't excuse yourself by saying, "Look, we didn't know." For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve." Proverbs 24:12, NLT

We can't claim blissful ignorance without any care for the world's poor. As God's people, we are responsible to act. Exactly what you do and how you respond is between you and the Lord. But we're all responsible for doing something.

And anyways, as someone once told me... ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is just ignorance.


Anonymous said...

Well aren't you always just in time sister! I just finished writing a Sunday school lesson for Thanksgiving (which up here in cold land Canada is in 2 weeks) with just that same message: the great responsbility of those who have (all of us in N.A.) to those who do not have (most of the world). I used Luke 12:48. That verse makes me shudder. As I was pondering whether this lesson was a bit too tough or had the wrong focus(you know how the ole devil works!), I noticed you had a new post. Thank you for your timely affirmation and heartfelt words!
I am very sorry for your loss, and I can see how baby C would have lightened the mood.
- Stephanie O'D