People only care about what they know about. I happen to know much more than I’ve bargained for.
I happen to work in a field where people’s suffering is a faraway image that the ones I’m surrounded with will never be able to relate to.
Hence, no one to share this with. No one except for you. And you know. You know because I tell you and hence, you care. This is yours.
I called you one night to ask you if you see me as someone who has unshakeable faith. You said yes. We don’t speak about this much. But I needed affirmation.
“Why do you ask?”
I asked because even though I know about the faith that drives me every minute, I also have a cloud of doubt that hangs over my head most days. It also sits on my shoulder with a smirk.
It ridicules me for all that I do sometimes too. And only you know this.
That’s why I ask.
And here’s what I know.
I know about children who live so close to train railway tracks that their whole existence is shaken up every 10 minutes of the 24 hours in a day. Children about our age when we were worried about what we’re going to do with the sandwich that mom packed us to school because we didn’t want to eat it.
Every 10 minutes of the day, a mother is worried that her two-year-old will be crushed to death if she blinks an eye.
I know about children who are no older than seven or eight years working with heavy, sharp machinery at factories for twelve hours straight. We don’t remember anything besides our classrooms at that age.
Balloon factories. Inhaling toxins that could get them killed before they have the chance to become adults.
Hands stained with grey. Faces with lines deep enough to be mistaken for seventy-year-old men and women.
And so, I ask you, why not us?
There lies the doubt. How can there be so much in the world that shakes your faith and so much that keeps you faithful?
You deal with people. You know about the suffering too. It has hardened you more than it has for me.
For me, sometimes I see it from afar and on the occasion that I see it up front – my first response is not to disregard my faith. I hold onto it for being able to live like I do and work like I do.
Do I do enough? Will the hypocrisy ever come to an end? How can we speak without sounding arrogant?
You have no answer. But you know me this way. That’s all that has ever mattered.
I tell you I am scared that we are the people who will be judged the most for the way things are in this world. Because we are capable.
Capable yet incompetent.
Able yet caught up in our microscopic distresses.
I tell you I am scared to do nothing with my time here or do too little. You and I live with holes in our hearts where everything we feel falls through if we’re not giving back to this world.
The only thing that brings us comfort or the slightest feeling of fulfillment is to know that we are of use. With our hands, voices, minds, or words.
And you say, “yes”.
Yes, we will be the ones that are judged the most. And that you hope that we return to nature one day having been a good force of energy. Not a stagnant one. Not a still force that did nothing with what it was given except feed itself.
Thank you as ever.