Why we can't all care about everything
I was talking to a lady today who has a real heart for a particular issue. It's an important topic and it looms large in her mind, almost overwhelming her with its importance.
"Why do other people tune out when I talk about it?" she asked me. "Why can't they see what I see?"
I have a variety of friends who post a variety of issues online. Some are left-wing, some are right-wing. Some are pro-this, while others are anti-that. Many, many people hold issues close to their hearts. Some want to free the refugees, others are concerned about indentured slavery in the sex trade, some champion the rights of the poor in the wake of the recent Federal government budget. Friends overseas post thought-provoking articles about racism and privilege and the issues of poverty and inequality and belonging and not belonging.
I watched a documentary about Lance Armstrong last night and the false narrative and lies he perpetuated for years. As part of the commentary the doco maker interviewed a woman called Betsy Andreu who spoke out early and passionately about Armstrong's drug taking. As she spoke I was struck by the strength of emotion in her face. This was her issue. This was what she cared about. This was what she had fought for, over nearly a decade. And, honestly? Not that many people took her seriously for a very, very, long time.
In my 20s I had a passion. I couldn't understand why it wasn't preached more at church, why more people didn't act on what I thought was such an obvious command we should all be concerned about. I didn't get why everyone else didn't get it.
Everyone cares about something.
The problem is, there are so many things.
The other problem is: we all think our things are most important of all. *And* we think the people who don't think our things are the most important of all are in some way lacking. Maybe insensitive. Maybe uncaring. Ignorant. Dumb. Blase.
Most of the time, we're all not.
That doesn't mean we can't share what we care about. It doesn't mean we can't try to win supporters to our cause. It does mean, though, that we can't take it personally when people aren't as passionate as we are about animal rights or anti-GMO protests or the plight of whoever it is. And we can't assume that they aren't as righteous or as forward-thinking or as progressive or as conservative or as gospel-focused or as anything else as we think we are.
The world is broken. There are problems wherever we look. We must care about something. But it's impossible to care, through words, actions and thoughts, about everything.