27 May 2010

What we hope for

A few days ago a pretty monumental thing happened. The LRA Recovery and Northern Uganda Recovery Act was finally passed in the House of representatives. Two days ago it passed onto President Obama's desk where he signed it and made it law that the US government will have to take action to end Joseph Kony's reign of terror.
If you have ever read my blog you will know that this is something I care deeply about. For decades, children have been abducted from their homes and forced to fight and kill in the name of a crazy man who has no real agenda other than ruining lives for his own power. I got involved a couple years ago when my girlfriend and I sat down to watch the Invisible Children movie- The Rough Cut.
It moved us so much and we knew we had to help. We had to get the word out. Neither of us had known that this was going on and we knew most of our friends didn't either.
Last April we were involved with the Rescue. An Invisible Children event where we camped out in Dublin to show we were one with the Child Soldiers. We waited to be 'rescued'. We waited on Politicians and media figures to stand alongside us. We waited with hundreds and thousands of others in cities around the world. In New York, London, San Diego, Mexico City, Sydney.
Most of us were rescued pretty quickly. We stood alongside each other. Kids all over the world standing together for something big and important. But some still waited. In Chicago they waited and waited.
And waited.
For a week kids slept out on the streets in Chicago demanding to be rescued. No matter where we were in the world we were united with Chicago. The internet meant all of us could plead for Oprah Winfrey to stand up and declare her support and therefore 'release' the kids in Chicago. We tweeted and facebooked our socks off.
Eventually it happened. It took a while but Oprah stood up and her voice meant the kids in Chicago's voices could be heard. And this meant that the Kids in Northern Uganda could have their voices heard also.
And in this past week this voice has reached all the way to the White House.
It was pretty special to be involved with. Something I will never forget.
When you are united with people you have never met and have a common interest and a common goal it can be one of the most thrilling things. You feel like you are alive. Nothing can stop you. You are changing the world together and there is a high involved that no drug can come close to achieving.
Maybe this all sounds cliched and hard to understand but maybe you need to experience this sort of thing. Maybe when you have put your heart into something so important and joined with people all over the world to end injustice you will understand.
But the problem is that it never lasts.
That high quickly disappears. Maybe it is exhaustion. But sooner or later life goes back to normal. There is still work to do of course but sometimes that work is a bit more boring and mundane. Just as important but maybe not quite as exciting. It takes real commitment to stick at it.
And this is my problem. I lost interest. I stopped checking to see what the latest was in the Congo and in Northern Uganda. I stopped educating myself and getting involved. It's not that I didn't care anymore but it wasn't as exciting.
This happens a lot in life. You go to a concert and singing along with hundreds or even thousand of other people and it's awesome. Then you go home and go to History first period the next day at school (no offense History geeks). Or you go to a huge Christian event and you are united with everyone there and and you feel like you could change the world for God. Then you come home and look at porn at 3am and feel worthless again.
It's hard to keep that high going.
And maybe that's alright. Not all of us are called to work for Invisible Children full time. Just because we go back to the normality of life we shouldn't forget that our participation was important. This isn't about feeling guilty. It's about perseverance.
After Jesus had died I'm sure it was pretty tough for the disciples. Everything they thought they understood was taken away. But then Jesus came alive and he appeared to the disciples. Their response was what you would expect.
Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. Luke 24:52,53
It must have felt as natural as breathing to worship Jesus in that moment. This was what they had been waiting for. Jesus fulfilling exactly what he had been talking about the whole time. They were united with each other and Jesus. It must have been the best feeling in the world. Jesus had just told them to go out and change the world and they were ready. What a feeling that must have been.
Then in Mark 16 Jesus lets them know what he wants them to do.
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." 
When Jesus asked them to go out and spread the word he wasn't naive. He knew that it would be tough. He knew there would be times they would feel like giving up and going home. But he promises them that they will do amazing things. Important things.
Things like healing.
Things like letting someone know they are loved.
Things like helping release Child Soldiers.
The disciples didn't get it all easy after Jesus left them physically. They had it extremely tough at times. But they had a hope that it would all be worth it. That they weren't pursuing peace or justice for nothing. So they kept going until it quite literally killed them.
And the great thing is we are in the same place. We aren't any different. We have jobs to do. We have people to love and injustices to overturn.
Sure it might get mundane at times. We might need a breather. We will definatley need to be reinspired.
But there is a hope that it will be worthwhile that keeps driving us.
The most important thing that Invisible Children has taught me is that none of us are unimportant. That if we keep going we will get there. it happened this week. It took all of us. But there is definatley a lot of work to do. This is not the end. It's just the beginning. But we have come this far. And it has been worth every minute.
So whether you are a Parent, or a teacher, an activist or even the President of the United States.
Keep focusing on the hope that your work is worthwhile.
You might not be able to see the results yet.
But they are there.
And if you keep going.
then soon enough the Invisible will become the Visible.


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