Friday, 4 October 2013

My Lament

(Created on January 26, 2010)

I just finished watching footage of Haiti after the earthquake.  And this document is my reaction.
I am almost 100% of the time a carefree happy person.  I am not an emotional man, but what little emotion I feel is happiness.  However, this footage moved me so much that I literally broke down and cried sincerely.  I did not cry previously for over a year, the last time being after a friend committed suicide. 

I often hear stories of people getting depressed; some people are not able to function at their jobs because of how sad they are, having to take breaks from work.  I always think, how is it that someone can be that depressed, when their life isn’t that bad?  Finally, for the first time, I caught a glimpse of that grief.

Right now I realize one reason that I shut myself off from emotions is because of the sad state this world is in.  All nonChristians are going to hell for eternity.  It is the responsibility of Christians to reach out to them and try to save them.  This is a huge load.  If I didn’t shut out emotions from myself I wouldn’t be able to bear it.  Yes, we have God to help us, and we really need nothing else.  But still, look at all there is to do!  People are going to spend eternity in hell because Christians fail to see the enormous need to share the gospel.  And because Christians like me know what they should be doing, we just don’t do it for whatever reason.

Now imagine if while sitting down in the coffee room at work there was a tremor.  The earth starts shaking and shelves and pieces of roofing start falling down.  In desperation you bolt to the nearest exit, only to find a gaping hole in the wall where the door was.  Dodging falling debris you scramble over a pile of rubble twisting your ankle while you try to escape the building before it falls on top of you.  Not even five seconds after you stumble out of the building, it collapses.  You know that in this building half your fellow co-workers just died.

You are now in shock, wondering if it is all a dream.  Then you remember your wife and kids back home, and you wonder if they are even alive.  You run to your car, before seeing that it is un-drivable buried under cement and dust.

You hobble along the two miles towards your home.  Your cuts and scrapes from flying glass are unnoticeable as you observe the wreckage around you.  No one will help you get home as they are busy trying to dig out their friends and making their way to where they hope there still is a medical facility.

You make it home, finding your kids outside and safe, but your wife didn’t make it.  She died in the house.  You do your best to comfort your mourning children but it is no use because you yourself are crying just as hard as they are.  Your anger towards God soon turns into the sudden realization that you have no job.  There is no running water and the only food you have is spoiled as it got buried in the pile of wood that used to be your house. 

After a couple weeks with no one coming to your aid, it dawns on you that you just may starve to death.  The worst part is the agony that the kids will suffer while going through the same pains as you.  All around you the pain of the nation is already starting as riots start up over any food and water that may be available.  Someone gets shot, another gets stabbed, just so someone has enough food to survive another week. 

No one pays the additional dead bodies any attention.  The single operational bulldozer is not being used to move around the mountains of rubble, but to push aside the decaying corpses.  Real human beings, now dead.  The smell of the decomposing flesh is too unbearable that you stuff orange peels in your nose and your kids’ noses to try and compensate.

This is what people in Haiti are actually going through, people, TODAY!  I mean, this pain is REAL!

I don’t watch TV, so the first I hear about the earthquake was in an email that was printed off at work.  The email was a corporate one, explaining that Sobeys donated $50 000 to help in Haiti.  The following Sunday in church I hear a bit more about what happened in Haiti.  I read on Facebook that Pastor Mark Driscoll came back from Haiti and that he was emotionally drained.  He was going to do a sermon on Haiti that Sunday.  Intrigued I went online to see what he had to say.  This is where the despair hit me.

I will never look at life the same again.

This is my lament.  We in North America have every tool we need to help this nation of Haiti, as well as other nations, get on their feet:  to at least give them food and water so they don’t have to worry if they are going to live another day.

I feel like putting half of this document in all-caps.  That is how emotionally passionate I feel about all this.  Look at what we are spending our money on instead, people!  I’m going to start with myself first so that you don’t think I feel that I am better than you.  I waste my money on video games, and kill all my free time playing them or watching TV online.

I used to be completely happy with my job.  After all, why not work at a job that makes you happy, right?  But now I am starting to agree with my friends that say I can do better than working at a grocery store.  Not because I am wasting brain cells or because I am too good for that particular job.  But I am an intelligent healthy young man that has the capability of making a lot more money.  I used to think, “oh well, I only have myself to provide for anyway.”  But after watching that video, I now realize that even if I don’t ever get married or eventually have a family to take care of, I have an even larger family that needs my help.  The family of God.  The church is suffering, and if I only work at a place for myself because I’m lazy, then what meaning does my life really have?

I’m not saying that I am discontent with my job or that I am going to quit.  I am just saying that I will now keep a larger eye out for any doors of opportunity that I know that I am meant to do.  I won’t say “no” because I’m lazy this time.  If I think that I could do that job happily, then I will go for it.  I realize that I am not meant to do certain stuff, but now I realize I can at least not resign myself to work at a grocery store without looking for opportunities, just because of one failed attempt at a career course.

That was my lament over my own short comings, but now is where I’ll lament of the failure of North America as a whole.  Why didn’t I hear about Haiti until a few days later in that email?  Why didn’t I hear people buzzing about it nonstop?  It is because Canadians have become accustomed to their own obsessiveness over their own comfortability that they refuse to dwell on anything that threatens their superficial feeling of bliss.

Yes, I am a Canadian too.  Proving my point is the fact that I still haven’t cancelled my subscription to Champions Online.  But now I want to point out how ridiculous the spending habits of Americans is.

Look at how much people spend on booze.  I mean, if you’re thirsty, drink some water.  Or even one quick beer to settle you down a bit.  But what really is the point of drinking massive amounts of expensive liquid?  It sickens me how much money goes into advertising alcohol.  Billions of dollars a year, people.  And it’s not even for a good cause; not advertising anything virtuous.

Cigarettes.  Honestly people.   It doesn’t matter how hard it is getting in Alberta to smoke, people still insist on doing it.  The prices per pack are through the roof, you can’t smoke inside any public buildings: you need to stand certain distances away.  And smoking kills you.  So you are paying for something to kill you while you could be spending that same money to save people’s lives.

The pornography industry is huge, and not because Americans won’t pay for it.  It disgusts me how much perverts are willing to pay for their own self indulgence.

Las Vegas.  Do I really need to say more people?  Yes, let’s go to sin city and throw our money away at the poker table and strip clubs.  Honestly!  Remember people, this same money that you are literally throwing away could save somebody’s life.

Back in Lac La Biche I remember how people drove around just to drive.  Even with the sky high gasoline prices in their big trucks.  Can’t you find cheaper ways to amuse yourselves?  Do you really have to drive to work?  How much will it really hurt you to wake up ten minutes earlier so you can walk to work?

Clothes.  Is it really necessary to spend the extra twenty dollars on a designer name, when a decent pair can be bought for cheaper?  Are you actually going to wear that?  How often?  Can’t you wear your old respectable looking clothes and go without it?

Vehicles.  Today it is easy to get a loan so you can spend money you don’t have to buy stuff you don’t need to impress people you don’t even like.  You don’t need to beat the Jones’.  Compared to the people in Haiti, you ARE the Jones’.

Today kids are texting on their new cell phones as they listen to music on their top of the line ipods.  While texting they complain about how much their life sucks.  They should shut up.

Now that $50 000 that the Sobeys corporation donated seems retardedly cheap.  I mean, this is a huge corporation, making hundreds of thousands of money per week in sales.  I’m not attacking Sobeys in particular, I work for them and I don’t know how much money they really can afford to lose.  But this was a reminder of how many American corporations donate what is chicken change for them just for good publicity and tax breaks.

I don’t claim to not waste money.  I do.  But I also put in a decent amount of effort not to waste money.  You may claim “it’s my money, I can do with it what I want!”  Listen here, you selfish glutton!  If it is really your money, you are still choosing to pay for your own selfish desires over saving someone’s life.  That doesn’t necessarily make you the murderer, but I hope you feel guilty over your meaningless life.  I don’t hate you, I am one of you, but a bit of guilt will help you keep things in perspective.

Look at how much people today complain.  I try not to complain, but every so often I catch myself saying “today’s a really long day,” or “I’m tired.”  People swear and cuss so easy when something goes wrong.  But what goes wrong isn’t really that bad when you think about it.  See if you can count the amount of times you find yourself complaining out loud or in your head.  Then reprimand yourself, as your problems aren’t really all that bad most of the time.

It used to be a prayer of mine for God to give me some more emotion.  So that I can feel for people.  I currently have this emotion I prayed for and the guilt is squeezing my heart.  It’s called conviction, and we should welcome it in our lives.  The psychopath doesn’t have a conscious. 

People, please live as though God is watching you, because HE IS.

That is my lament.  I pray that in the future I will live with more meaning that the way I am living today.  This world is a lost cause, but God still wants for us to come to him.  It is only through God that joy is really found.  Even through my lament I feel joy that God gave and blessed me with through his grace.

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