Maybe I was imbalanced or at least overly-sensitive already, or maybe it was a culmination of a lot of other things in my head. Perhaps it was even a revelation. Whatever it was, I’ve never found the Publix checkout line as depressing as I did tonight.

Have you ever stopped to look — I mean really look — at the magazines in the checkout, poised and ready to lure the casual shoppers with their colorful type and sordid tales of scandalous celebrity misadventures? As I went through the line to pay for tomorrow’s lunch, I felt nearly sick with sadness about this… and wondered when and why our culture became so fascinated with other people’s pain.

Morbid curiousity? Or could it just be that our own worlds are so fractured we need the assurance that even the ones with fame and money on their side are equally in need of repair?

Even sadder than this… was that I’d barely noticed before. Intellectually, I’ve always found it disgusting, but this time I really felt it.

I thought about it a lot while making dinner… thought about how fallen our world is, and full of people who are broken and dirty and tired. How I too am among them, but somehow, sadly, I can all too easily forget that.

I want to be a healer. It’s in my nature to want to “fix” everything. I’d like to change the world and clean things up. I’d like to put things back together. I’d like to be a cure.

But I can’t. None of us can do it all…. I’m well aware that the most I can offer is a Band-aid and empathy. But somehow, that’s okay. No one person can do it all.

Which brings me back to Miss Emily, my poetic heroine: “If I can stop one heart from breaking… I shall not live in vain.”

Or as said in other words from Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz: “The human struggle bothered Rick, as if something was broken in the world and we were supposed to hold our palms against the wound.”

What if it were as simple as finding the broken places, and just holding them… putting pressure in the right places… just to help the healing begin? What if changing the world was as simple as all of us doing that where we are?

I’d like to be a part of the change… but I’m not sure where to start. But maybe it is as simple as listening to someone who’s had a bad day without judging or feeling the need to solve everything with a few words of trite advice. At least it could be a place to begin.

I hope I don’t forget how I felt tonight. Of course I will… because I’m broken and dirty too, and only the grace of God can make that right. But I hope whenever I get too complacent, something will shake me out again and remind me what I’m here for.

Because sometimes… a Band-aid and empathy can be more than enough.

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