Tuesday, June 16, 2009

When The News Feels Real And Close

My husband and I were talking tonight about an NGO we support. Lately, they have hired a new president who has changed the focus and tone of the organization in a way that we feel is less than positive. We had talked about dropping our support to put it towards another organization that helped in a way that matches what we care most about, but then decided first to call to see if someone would first meet with us to perhaps cast their new vision or tell us if their original vision really is gone for good. So we'll be meeting with a great guy who writes incredible letters to supporters next month when he comes to our house for dinner.

But what brings that all to mind is how we were talking about this NGO's new focus of straight relief work, and how the new president likes to quote numbers of those lost in natural disasters and damages in terms of dollars. We talked about how that no longer really touches us because it is so prevalent on the news.

Such and such a place had a hurricane and hundreds of people died? So what. That happened just last year somewhere nearby, didn't it? That country had an earthquake and thousands are dead or homeless? So what. Earthquakes are always happening, and poor people are always losing their homes to some natural disaster.

That is unfortunately our unconscious response a lot of times because we have all been deadened to the shock and reality simply because we are inundated with it through all types of media. Nothing touches us anymore. Or does it?

My Bohemian Midwife friend knows what it is like to hear a news story and have it touch the core of her own heart, to cause such agony of soul that sleep and peace are lost in the midst of the grief and helplessness caused by being thousands of miles removed and unable to do anything.

Did you hear about the murders in Yemen? Did you know that those nine people were real people with senses of humor, real heart, real lives, real conversations, real dreams, real families, and real stories? Did you know that they spent their time saving lives every single day in a rather ill equipped hospital, and simply went out for a picnic together, never suspecting that they would soon be murdered? In that group, a family of five is lost forever. Can you imagine?

For the first time in a long time, a news item on the media has finally touched my heart. But only because I know my friend is grieving a deep loss.

It makes me realize how careful I must be not to stay permanently desensitized, and it also cautions me against making sweeping decisions about where my money and help go without first talking firsthand to those in the trenches. We need to know the stories, to know the people, to connect heart to heart.

Don't know if this makes sense or not, but it's something I wanted to put out there, mainly for my own benefit to remember.


Sarah said...

I agree with you that it is very easy to become desensitized towards disasters and human suffering.Even if something on the news has me crying with the dreadful injustice, I will probably have wiped it away from my head in moments. A horrible thing to admit.It is easy to forget that the people are real, the loss and pain raw.Thank you for this post - you have made me think hard. Sarah

Lynn said...

I don't know if you will remember me, and I'm not exactly sure how I found your blog! But, I met you in Access long, long ago, through a mutual friend Amy B. You are a fabulous writer and I'm glad I found your blog! And, congratulations on your son!

-Lynn K.