Friday, February 16

Sympathy...Is Just Sympathy

I have had two children in very nice hospitals, where I received wonderful medical care. With my little mister, I stayed in a room with two beds, so that my hubby could stay the night and be comfortable. I received three very yummy meals a day through the hospital food service and even got to take two snacks at the nourishment pantry because I was a nursing mom.

When my little miss fractured her skull, we were seen immediately by the Emergency Room staff. CT scans were taken, and she was admitted and watched overnight, in a room that again slept all three of us. We had food service and movies played on the television for her enjoyment.
She was even given a donated teddy bear to comfort her.

I sleep in a house with heat, so that I can be comfortable even when it is 3 degrees outside. I have a cabinet stocked with snacks. I eat three meals a day. And on nights when I don't feel like cooking the food I do have, I can order pizza or jump into my SUV, drive to McDonald's, order some cheeseburgers and waste money.

I have a closet full of clothes and my children have more clothes than they ever could need.

I have a telephone and can communicate with friends and loved ones in a matter of seconds.

I have a television set that brings me hours of entertainment while I sit, watch and waste time.

I have much and I waste much. We all do. In fact, if you are on here reading this right now, even though I am glad you are, aren't you in a sense wasting time?

I take so much for granted. I complain when gas prices rise, but my goodness, I own a car!!! I should be grateful.

When the lovely employees at the nearby Taco Bell mess up my order again for the thirteenth time, I get a little annoyed, but Geez oh Pete, I still have food to eat, even if it is the wrong order.

I clean out my fridge every week or so and throw away so many rotting leftovers. So much food. Again, I am wasting.

Back in October I believe, I watched clips for a film, Invisible Children, and was moved...MOVED...I vowed to help. I began working on helping, but nothing ever happened. I got too caught up in the busyness of my life. Christmas came along and I had presents to buy and travel plans. My kids had taken up a lot of my time, it's understandable, I mean I have a life I am living...responsibilities. I have mouths to feed, bills to pay and so many constraints on my time.

So, I keep on living. I stress about patting my little guy's back at midnight.....wishing he'd fall asleep, while laying beside him in my Queen sized bed wrapped up in sheets and a comforter.

I spend my Saturday busy doing laundry in my washer machine. I vacuum my carpeted floors. I pick up the tons of toys that my children have and don't really need. Days turn to weeks and before I know it, those children in that film I saw a few months back don't even cross my mind anymore.

I mean, I've been busy..I have two young kids and the winter has brought about many colds. I've had sick children that have needed my care. I have taken them to the doctor with a same day appointment and have given them their prescribed medication that I was able to have almost immediately upon leaving the appointment. And I have been there to comfort them while they have felt under the weather. So, that's all so important, so of course, I haven't given the Invisible Children a second thought.

But I don't want to be THAT person. I don't want to be the one who feels sympathy for lives others are living, yet does nothing about it. I don't want to be that person who wastes time, money and energy on silly luxuries like cheeseburgers and cable television.

But, I am. And sadly, I think a lot of us are.

I have a clip in the post below about an organization, RENUH, that is trying to help restore the hospitals in Northern Uganda. And at the bottom of this post, is the entire Invisible Children film in case you are wondering what it is that I keep referring to. You should watch it, in its entirety. Or at least the last 25 minutes, if you don't have the time to spare for the whole thing. I am sure you have much to do today.

I just feel that I am supposed to be doing something more than having sympathy. And I feel that so far I haven't done a thing to help. I mean I have blogged about it several times and brought it to several people's attention. But I haven't really, REALLY helped.

Yet, I keep on living my life in the home that I own...eating the food that fills my fridge and spending time planning dance classes for my daughter.

And while my life keeps moving on, a child in Northern Uganda is going days without a bite to eat, sleeps on the ground outside because he has no home and washes the only shirt he has in a bucket. Oh and while doing all of this, he is worried that at any moment the Lord's Resistance Army will kidnap him, brutally beat him and force him to kill tons of children, some of whom may be friends or family.

And while I sit on my couch with my popcorn watching an On Demand movie, a diabetic patient in the Gulu hospital has been waiting all day for treatment from a doctor who will never show up.

While I walk around the mall with my miss and take her into Build-a-Bear, a mildly sick child seeks care at the Gulu hospital and walks by the TB ward that is only closed off by a tarp, thus exposing him.

While I wash my sheets and wonder what to do with my daughter's old toddler bed, a young mother gives birth on a hospital bed covered with the blood of the last three patients.

And right now, I sit here in my plush robe, typing away on a computer using my internet that I spend $60 a month for...wasting time and wasting money.

But, I have sympathy.

"Sympathy is no substitute for action." -- David Livingstone, missionary to Africa