The news continued on with its tales of woe and crime until Cecil the friendly Lion was cruelly murdered after being lured out of a protected safari in Africa. I'm not sure what it was about this particular story that hit so many people to their core, sending millions around the globe into a frenzied outrage, crying "off with his head!" in regard to the 'sport' hunter who had taken this beautiful life. For me personally I felt the pain of this lions fate due to the sheer struggle of life in general. I can vividly recall being in an African Safari and watching dozens of lions eat, sleep and play all around our tour vehicle. Many times feeling so safe and comfortable that if I didn't know better I would have hopped out and joined the lion pride in the tall grass for an afternoon nap. They were not difficult prey or even a hard target. I could have done serious damage if I had held a large enough rock and decided to throw it. The only time you knew to stay out of their way was when hunger had taken over and the hunt was in play. This story brought out the conflict of our world. The outraged humans who felt fire and fury were also sitting down to dinner hours after reading this story (perhaps even discussing it while they ate) partaking in, and perhaps filling their plates with, a choice of chicken, lamb or steak, without finding any sort of connection to the irony of how that creature became their dinner. I, of course know full well, having been raised on a farm and when the time came to finally sell the animals and move away, we watched our pet cows, Bessie and Betsy, the ones we had named, raised, groomed and fed be sold to a beef farmer. Yes, the very cows that had been perfect childhood companions who brought laughter and joy with licks on cheeks of affection were going to the slaughter. We knew what their fate would be. Life is not the same as in days of old when each family had to grow, cultivate and eventually harvest or kill their meals for survival and those meals were filled with gratitude and perhaps a little bit of sorrow for the life that had to be taken for theirs to continue. It seems in today's culture what you can't see, doesn't exist. There is a total disconnect from a life taken behind closed doors and a life taken in front of a lens. But sometimes, not even that can compel someone to feel.
Last night as I scrolled through my Facebook feed I saw the much more silently, Christian community propelled, story of abortions. A cause I never got too deeply in the water over in past years. Feeling it was legal, mainly for cases of rape or incest victims and young girls who were medically in danger of carrying to term. Never did I know that abortion was considered 'legal' right up until the moments before a mother went into labour, or that if the baby came out of the womb dismembered like an internal genocide (piece by piece) and not 'whole' it wasn't criminal. I looked at the photo taken of a women carrying twin girls at 5 months, the very stage of pregnancy I am currently in, walking into a clinic to have her abortion regardless of the financial support or offers of adoption that had come streaming in from the online community from her leaked photo. She already had girls and simply didn't want anymore 'girls' and it seems couldn't be "bothered" to carry the two little growing human beings into the world for someone else to love and care for. After all, she couldn't see them, touch their soft skin or hear their plea for life. There would be no funeral or special care given to their plight. They were just unknown beings interrupting a life that was bigger, stronger and in charge.
We, as a society, have disconnected. We have lost our humanity. We have turned away from God to fill our hearts with selfishness. Because just like the lives lost that we can't see, or don't want to see, God is a God we can't see or touch or stare at photos of and grow attachments. We can't create a story line in our reality that pulls at our heart strings for God, who is as the air. And many simply can't believe in God for those reasons. Our defense mechanisms are up. We are in the here and now. If we don't take care for ourselves than who will!! We can't cry at every sad story, we can't feel everyone else's pain when we have our own to deal with... What kind of a life would that be?
It would be a life of Jesus. Feeling every heartbreak, every sorrow, every tear of every human, animal and creature as they lived and died. He chose us to be His companions. He chose us to take care of His world and creation. He chose us to love one another and care for each other above the care we have for ourselves. He gave us the ability to see Him through each other and the world around us. But we've stopped looking. Yet somehow in fleeting moments, in sometimes odd and strange situations, we can still see those qualities in the hearts of God's sons and daughters, believers and non-believers.... For a moment compassion for life is reborn. When we feel for things that are not right. But it's happening less and less. When we need it more and more - sensitivity, humility, tenderness, compassion, love and God within us. We need God. Because we, as a world and society, are quickly slipping away.
- Naomi Striemer