You cannot see despair if you do not look.
You cannot hear despair if you do not listen.
You cannot feel despair if you do not empathise.
You cannot touch despair if you do not engage.
And you cannot smell despair if you do not breathe.
But in the absence of our ability to see, hear, feel, touch, and smell, despair thrives, stealing hope and lives. Our comfort, our safety, does not absolve us from ensuring others have that too, in fact, it does quite the opposite. Because the privilege afforded to us of comfort and safety, can only truly be of use and therefore sustained if it is used in some way to provide safety and comfort for others. Otherwise, it becomes an empty shell, desperately seeking meaning which no man-made chattel can meet. And that in itself becomes a different kind of despair, an insatiable one that we try to fill with meaningless distractions and ‘busyness’ lest we start to see, hear, feel, touch, or smell the very things that are indeed required to sustain us.
So, let’s ask ourselves these hugely important questions:
- Is this really who we are?
- Are we really going to ask good people to look into the abyss of despair and walk away without offering a helping hand?
- Have we really thought about the consequences of these actions and what it makes us all?
- Can we really continue to sit in our warm homes and eat our plentiful food, with such a steely determination not to share it with those in such desperate need, borne out of our learnt behaviour of fear and greed?
It is not the act of helping vulnerable souls that risks our safety, our abundance, and our way of life, it is the act of not helping those in need that poses the greatest risk of all. That being the loss of our shared humanity, compassion, and love, without which we really have nothing.
This is not who we are.
It is not who we are meant to be.
It is not who we have to be.
And looking away will not make this crisis go away.
Please remember that.