The Other Side of the Wall

There are inherently two sides to every wall.  I’ve seen a bit of the opposite side of the wall this week, from a new-to-me perspective.

On my side of the wall, people suffer from infertility and infant loss, from financial struggle and workaholism, from inadequacy and arrogance, from rebellious children and failing parents, from illness and health obsession, from bullying and pure meanness, from neglect and smothering, from untimely deaths and births, from want and from excess.

On the other side of the wall, people suffer from infertility and infant loss, from financial struggle and workaholism, from inadequacy and arrogance, from rebellious children and failing parents, from illness and health obsession, from bullying and pure meanness, from neglect and smothering, from untimely deaths and births, from want and from excess.

Is there value in quantifying neediness? Is there reason to measure the difficulty of one place against another? Should we evaluate loss or pain or sorrow to determine whose is greater?

Please don’t hear me saying that I equate the effects of attempted genocide in Myanmar or the extreme poverty and lack of basic sanitation and nutrition in rural Bangladesh with hard times in Midland, Texas.  It’s not at all the same. Not even close. There are many needs here that we don’t experience in the US. But the pain and loss is real in both places.  The struggle and effort and plight of humanity is present, no matter which side of the wall you see.

No matter where in the world you go, there you still are.

The fact that the pain is happening in an exotic, tropical place does not increase the value or weightiness of the pain for the person who is experiencing it.  Nor does giving or going to a new, exotic, tropical place increase the value of the generosity and kindness of the giver.

I am still processing all I have seen and experienced here. The implications will be lasting. I will be shaped forever by the view of 700,000+ people living in refugee camps.  And I will continue to give of my time and resources to help because my help (and yours) is desperately needed. But I will be leaving tomorrow with a deeper conviction that my love, kindness and generosity in my own space with my own people should be just as deep and real as my love, kindness and generosity in Cox’s Bazar.

To whom much is given, much is required…no matter which side of the wall you are on.

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