In Somalia people are dying of starvation as they flee their country in search of food. What can you and I do when tragedy strikes for someone else, down the street or across the world?
For tragedies close by, we send a card, bring a casserole, offer to help in very tangible ways. When the newscasts are insistent about situations far away, we choose to give money, or even travel to offer our God-given talents, rebuilding homes, digging wells, etc. Always we can pray, sending our love to bring healing.
Doing nothing is also making a choice. When we ignore the plight of others, our lack of action makes a difference. Disaster, hunger, oppression can become fertile seed beds for growing hatred and terrorism.
For me, life on this earth can be understood as an intricate and precious tapestry. Each strand that is woven belongs to a life and has an essential place in the entire pattern. Without it, the strength of the pattern would be broken. How I weave my strand is up to me. When I take action to help others, my choice brings beauty, not just to my section of the tapestry but to the whole panel. When I choose to ignore the needs of others, my strand flatlines, shrinks, its riotous colour fades. The entire picture suffers.
St. Paul describes our lives as part of a body. “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1Corinthians 12: 26)
Like a stone dropped into a pail of water, there is a ripple effect from our every action and non-action. Even though only our small area of the tapestry is visible to us, we must never forget that “doing nothing” will have an effect too.