A week ago, I joined in a Medieval Feast where we ate chicken legs, corn on the cob and potatoes with our hands. It was a huge success, but as I helped clean up after the meal and friend approached me as I held the garbage can in place and said, ‘I can’t take it.’ I didn’t know what He was talking about and before I could ask, as another person dumped a platter piled high with whole potatoes into the garbage can, he repeated himself, ‘I can’t take it. Look at all this good food we have to throw out while there are so many people who could really use it. Because of my character and how I generally react to people who try to make me think, I tried to disregard what He said and pass it off as a conversation I didn’t want to get in to at the time. But as I continued on throughout the rest of the evening, I meditated on his comment.
It’s nothing new to us. Not many people are naive enough to believe that everyone in the world is as good off as us in North America. We’ve all heard the stats; we know that 80% of the world consumes 20% of the world’s resources and vice versa. We know that there are people in the world that live on less than a day. We recognize that it isn’t right and things need to change. We’ve heard speeches and have maybe even given our own messages about the poverty and injustice in our world and try to convince people to change the way they live, but I am finding it hard to believe or comprehend that we can make a difference, that we can change all of this.
Yes, we can help those we pass by on the streets. We could welcome people into our homes, we can open up a drop-in shelter, we could get laws passed to crack down much harder on human trafficking and the porn industry, we could boycott making purchases from businesses that take part in slave labor and sweat shops, we could only buy fair trade products. All these things are positive things we could do I guess, and as big a supporter of beginning a revolution as I am, I can’t help but ask ‘what can this one man do?’ It’s one thing to believe in something, it’s another thing altogether to make that belief into a tangible action that really causes change. Will we ever be able to make those stats from 20/80 to 50/50? Will we ever be able to alter the human mind and convince them that human trafficking and the porn industry is nothing that unifies our world and brings praise to God’s name? Will we ever be able to put a stop to slave labor and sweat shops? Just because you may only buy fair trade coffee, doesn’t mean that . Sure your self esteem may be heightened because you feel you’ve added another notch to your belt, but will your personal decision cause any difference? We can acknowledge that we are wasting hundreds of potatoes because nobody likes eating plain potatoes with their hands –but at the end of the day, what is your opinion really doing the cause change? Tomorrow we will still throw out our leftovers and uneaten food simply because we couldn’t eat it all, and as much as you wish you didn’t take that much food in the first place, and as much as you know there are plenty of people elsewhere in the world who could use all that food –what can you possibly do about it? So, you keep eating and keep throwing food out, and just try to put your beliefs at the back of your mind. But you can’t help how you feel, you know it’s wrong, you know you want to do something about it. But what? Are you going to move to some desolate place in Africa and live on very little so you are no different? Are you going to build a food shelter in a small village in Africa? Are you going to go on the street corners and love the prostitutes that stand there? And even when you do these things, although you will definitely make a difference in those people’s lives –will you change the stats? Will you begin a revolution that brings awareness and attention to the other people that wish they could do something but are too afraid to do anything?
I don’t know how to make it happen. I don’t know if it can be accomplished. I don’t know if we can be content with causing change in our little community and loving on certain people and feeling like we’re doing our part. I don’t know if we are cutting ourselves short when we could really be doing so much more. I don’t know what the answers are. But I ask myself, can I chase dreams big enough to change the world? Take what I believe to new limits, take it beyond being able to pat myself on the back, take it further than influencing one persons life, and cause change that will turn heads and hearts.