הגיד לך אדם מה טוב
ומה יהוה דורש ממך
כי אם עשות משפט הגיד
לך אדם מה טוב ומה יהוה דורש
ממך כי אם עשות משפט

Micah 6:8
He hath shown thee, O man, what is good;
and what the LORD doth require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God.

JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, once opened a magazine and saw a horrifying picture of an orphan in a cage bed. She says, “All I felt was an immediate, instinctive revulsion towards the image, and I had half-turned the page before shame stopped me.”

“If you read the piece and it’s as bad as the picture,”
I thought, “then you’ve got to do something about it.”
And so I turned back.

Today I read these statistics and at first I almost stopped reading because ignorance is bliss. But shame stopped me. I have got to do something about it. I’m not sure what, but at the very least it gives my psyche that much more perspective, keeping me from greed and ignorant assumptions about the poor. I cannot change the entire world or the injustices that run rampant, but I can change my own, however small.

I’m sorry to dump this load on everyone, but it’s been on the forefront of my mind lately. The artwork below is part of my overall thought process, too. I cannot judge the “Mary Magdalenes” of the world, who’s mental capacity is stunted by abuse, who’s job and qualifications will never grow because the rich “need” someone to sew their handbags, who’s children go hungry because her husband has left her and she cannot provide. My question lately has been, now that I do know, now that I am refusing to be ignorant about her, what can I do to help her? It has not been easy for me to journey down the narrow path in my heart, but it surely is easier than the existence so many poor must live through. As Lucy says, “It has caused me to drop the rock in my hand.”

“One of my first thoughts, when I finished reading that initial article by Justin Sparks, was “why didn’t I know about this? How could I not know about it?” I had momentarily forgotten that human suffering, however dreadful and on however wide a scale, will always go ignored and unheard unless somebody is prepared to shout about it, and others are ready to act. It is phenomenally easy both to hide and to silence children once separated from their families. They are small and portable, their language skills aren’t great, they don’t have lawyers and they aren’t registered to vote. Abandoned, neglected, caged or trafficked, these children were intended by nature to be protected by their parents. Now it is somebody else’s job — partly, mine.” ~JK Rowling.

(for those of you who have never read the HP books, you should know that this woman’s heart bleeds onto the pages in such a way that has changed my life forever. I never loved the outcast so much as after I read her books. You can read more about JK’s experience with discovering social injustice here. And her fight against cage beds here.)


3 thoughts on “

  1. Ah! Yes.When I was in Kenya we visited a couple of Christian-owned businesses who bus women in from the slums of Nairobi to learn a trade, earn a wage, and are provided with health care. Most of these women are single mothers who have been abandoned by their husbands or are victims of sexual assault. They would otherwise have no acheivable place in society or means to support their families outside of prostitution. One was a textile manufacturer, Amani Ya Juu. Beautiful clothing, housewares, and handbags. The other was Kazuri Beads which are hand formed and fired clay.This is why I try to support the ONE Campaign (to end poverty and AIDS in Africa) and the Product(RED) campaign whenever I can by purchasing products which donate part of the profits to the underprivileged. I know these are some of the most high-profile and “popular” charities but every little bit helps.Bridget, I love your voice and your heart of compassion. God bless you!!

  2. Oh man. I must go to Africa. I remember my geography teacher saying that at one point in history Africa was a nation of wealth before Westerners raped the land and scattered its people. To see one woman fighting her odds and creating beauty in her ugly world would be to glimpse a piece of the power Africa once had, and that in time may one day have again. Witness that struggle would be a trip of a lifetime. I’m so envious you were able to experience it! Have you ever read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kinsolver? You must! It’s what made me not want a diamond in my wedding ring: so powerful.Another great place to donate and buy handicrafts made by people in poverty: thehungersite.com

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