The world is full of injustice: race relations, refugees, healthcare, gun violence, civil rights, poverty, and the death penalty (just to name a few most recently in the news). Our church offers several ways to actively get involved in pursuing justice on many of these issues. In theory, I care about all of them. But in practice, the limits of my caring are very narrow.
I wish I were the person leading book discussions, participating in demonstrations, writing my congressmen, or volunteering my time. Instead, I find that I am the person who is exhausted trying to tame two semi-feral small humans, along with maintaining a healthy marriage and finding career success.
When I look to the Bible for inspiration, it is often discouraging. Work/life balance didn’t seem to play a big role in the lives of Jesus and the disciples, though evidently at least some of them were married. It is hard to believe that a disciple would have been much help to Jesus as he fed loaves and fishes to 5000 people if they had a two-year-old in tow who was having a meltdown because she had to hold hands in the big crowd and her fish pieces were cut up without her permission. I once took my two small children to help at our church’s food pantry, but spent the entire time just managing their behavior and keeping them out of the way. I left exhausted and frustrated.
I feel a bit guilty looking at the list of social justice issues to get involved with at church, knowing that I will do none of them, at least at this stage in my life. I’m not sure where or how to get involved when small children demand so much (though I’m open to ideas!) For now, I hope it is enough that I teach my son to be generous to his little sister, that I offer a second chance to a failing student, or that I buy an extra pan at Target to donate to refugees. I hope the small things matter.