This has been a tough weekend – violence in Charlottesville and Kisumu with the Kenyan election results have shaken us.
Arianna and I have oscillated between anger and helplessness; I’m sure you did too.
Our best friends bought plane tickets to Kijabe 9 months ago. . .if the politicians say the wrong words, the long awaited plan for their arrival this week could fall apart.
If you are like me, you question purpose and calling in these “valley of the shadow” moments. The sun is shining on a beautiful Saturday, but a shadow of brokenness hangs overhead.
What are we doing in this world? What can we really accomplish? Will forces of hate and darkness overwhelm the good? Can I change anything?
I read a brilliant response to Charlottesville by Sarah Benincasa, who advised taking action by aligning ourselves with those working for good in the hard situation:
I believe in the Superhero Sidekick theory of helping, which is to say that if you’re trying to ally yourself with the interests of an oppressed group of which you are not a part, you pull a Robin, not a Batman. You’re not the star of the show, so you don’t direct the mission. You listen, you learn, you assist. You definitely don’t lounge around and wait for the superhero to do all the work and then take all the credit. You also don’t throw up your hands and wail, “WHAT WILL WE EVER DOOOOOOO? THIS IS HOPELESS!” when Batman is right there going, “Um, Robin? There’s like ten things you could do today that would help everybody out. You listening?”
Here is the reality: I feel angry and helpless when I try to take a responsibility on my shoulders that was never meant to be mine. When I try to be Batman instead of Robin.
“Come to me, you who are weary and heavy burdened. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
Who are the superheroes around me – doing the hard work, continuing to struggle for good – day in and day out – in season and out of season?
Who is the faithful nurse, intern, manager, or student? What do they need to succeed?
Am I listening? And if so, how does the superhero need help?
Let’s take tragedy as a reminder to be involved with the people and organizations doing good work in our neighborhoods. And if you would like to respond by contributing in Kijabe, we would be so grateful.