I’ve been listening to ‘On the Use of Jack Boots’ by Al Baker (which is where I got my title from-borrowed a lyric) while blitz cleaning the house as Isaac sleeps and Sophia is at Pebble House today and it’s got me thinking (uh oh!) There’s a bit in one of the Harry Potter books where Dumbledore asks Harry if he’s ever had too many thoughts in his head and has explained that that is why he’s putting some of his in a bowl (can’t remember the term Rowling made up). Please excuse the reference, but that’s kind of how I feel. Apparently as well as verbal diarrhea my thoughts work in the same way, no wonder Dan can’t keep up when I’m talking – I can’t keep up with my own head!
Anyway, it was whilst listening to a song which essentially is talking about a revolutionary (I hesitate to use that word as I’m not the songwriter and I don’t know if that was his intention but someone politically active and aware) who is talking to his lady friend ‘I’d love to change the world but I just don’t feel like getting out of bed….I’m pretty sure my comrades will hold the barricades without me for a while, how about we do the washing up, for it’s what I’ve been dreaming of ‘. I was thinking, I remember listening to that at 19/20 and thinking, how can you stop caring? How can domestic issues be more important than thousands dying around the world due to unjust wars, poverty, preventable disease? And now of course, I know.
Relationship problems, miscarriage, financial problems, addiction, struggling with a child’s behaviour, unemployment, infertility, chronic illness, loss…these things, these things, are what take our attention from the global to the personal. And they should. Our tragedies are no less important because of other ways in which we may be privileged (food in fridge, roof over head). Our lives are important, our problems, our sadness and struggles, they deserve attention – we deserve to be happy. But so do the nameless millions around the world.
So I guess I want to know where to go from here; how do normal people, with relationships, jobs, children, health and financial limitations do something to make the world better? Answers on a postcard please. I know of people who are campaigning and actively working against climate change, human right violations, poverty and to protect our environment and I marvel at how they fit it all in.
I barely fit in children, work, our garden and Church commitments but I would so love to feel that I was doing something more. I want to make a difference, not just in my family and friends lives but further afield. I feel fidgety in my domesticity. To quote Al Baker again
‘For I want something better and I know I’m not the only one. ‘
From a Christian perspective, the world is never going to be perfect as we’re fallen…but I don’t think that’s an excuse for complacency. In Matthew 25, Jesus talks about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and visiting those sick or in prison.
Maybe I just need to step up my game.
I know of food banks in our area in need of food and keep meaning to donate but forgetting (story of my life). Must be more proactive.
I suppose that’s why I feel so strongly about trying to be supermarket free (an ongoing mission but not entirely succesful, still buying a majority locally but have ended up at supermarkets for nappies and at some other times); it feels like one thing I can grasp onto which realistically, isn’t going to dent Asda or Tesco’s profits, but at least I feel like I’m trying to swim against the current.
I’m aware this post is a bit of a brain dump. Just thinking online really, trying to achieve a balance between my home life and actually actively caring beyond my 4 walls. There’s a march coming up in Exeter to counter the EDL march and Dan and I are planning to go with the kids. It’s a start and hopefully we might meet some more active groups there that we can get involved in.
I feel like I should streamline what I care about but it’s hard; I’m passionate about breastfeeding and natural birth, the environment, good education (at home or otherwise), local business, anti-capitalisation, the human rights of people thousands of miles away and the poverty that is everywhere if you look hard enough. If you open your eyes, there is some small (or large) injustice or broken heart everywhere you look.
I guess that’s why it’s important to still rejoice in the good things, to embrace things that make you laugh and smile, to surround yourself with people that you love. But without forgetting.
Getting that balance, is the challenge.