Wednesday, May 28, 2008

God grew tired of us

Today I saw three birds in a tree that I wouldn't have noticed had I not been outside, watching. I felt the wind whoosh and saw it toss about the trees and bushes and leaves in the ever-darkening sky. I saw a boy so decrepit and bone-thin and absent in the eyes that I thought he was dead. Until he moved his mouth. Some survived. Many didn't.

God Grew Tired of Us documents the journey of some of the Lost Boys, a group of Sudanese refugees that fled their country first to Ethiopia, and then to Kenya. They fled Sudan because of a war in which the northern neighbors were killing all boys in the south, or sometimes they would sterilize them by poking holes in their testes. Many died as they fled, starved as they crossed through the desert without any food or water. They drank pee to survive. The footage of living skeletons from their initial journey was gut-wrenching. The name of this documentary comes from what the young Sudanese man, a Christian, said as he described how he felt when he was younger; as a boy fleeing he'd felt maybe God had grown tired of them, of people, and of the horrible things they have done on the earth to each other. He thought maybe he wanted to just wipe them from the land. These were his thoughts as a young boy that he was recalling now as a young man in America. The doco tracks the lives of several of these translocated refugees as they acclimated to life in America. It's brilliant, and sad, and poetic, and moving. Nicole Kidman narrates and the footage is in some places humorous, and some places gut-wrenchingly sad. It also shines a light on some of the negative aspects of American culture - subtly - by showing how for example in Sudan they were all a huge family and if you are wandering in a town and you are unfamiliar you can go to anyone's house and they will welcome you and show you around and ask are you lost? In America, one young man said, if you go to a stranger's house they will say "What are you doing here? I don't know you" and they call the police. They also have no time for the bonding and community they spent on in the refugee camp where they just had hours to talk and play soccer and tell stories. Now they had to work long hard hours, working 3 jobs to send money back to the Refugee camp to help out their family - voluntarily. These boys had no family. They'd lost everything except the other "Lost Boys" they had fled Sudan with and grown up with for years and years of their lives.

There is no excuse for the extent of poverty in our world. There is no excuse for Americans to have so much wealth while so many people suffer such grave injustices. It breaks my heart. And yet I know it's not a matter of just saying, ok let's ship all our money over to Sudan. It doesn't work that way. Yet if we all gave more of our money to charities that are working to do something real to help make the world a better place. If we gave more of our time. Watched more shows to enlighten us to the state of the world rather than buried our heads in the sand. We would be compelled and unable not to do something. It's our God-given duty, and especially to those who have committed their lives to following God, to Christ.

Since I was a young kid, I have wanted to "save the world." Maybe it's a hero complex, maybe it's a rescuer syndrome, but I don't think so. Despite their individual weaknesses and failings, I was given two very compassionate parents who taught me to care, to not judge, to love others despite their weaknesses, to forgive, to be there for people. And God planted in my spirit from a young age a desire to help make the world a better place. I've been donating money to various causes for several years. I have traveled the world and seen poverty. I've read about awful tragedies that break my heart. And I feel that now is my time to rise up and do something, and I just truly pray that God will open the doors as I take steps toward fulfilling that vision. I really want to make a difference. Because God is growing tired of so many of us sitting around. It is time to rise up!

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