I’ve just finished watching the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. It’s tough to watch, for sure. The last two episodes, especially, really shook me. If I’m being honest, I’m actually kind of sick to my stomach over it.
One of the themes of the show is that we are important in the lives of the people around us, whether we realize it or not. We affect others with our words and actions. We make an impact on those around us – good or bad, we make an impact. But beyond that, we should be paying attention to those around us. We should take notice of our friends and family members and coworkers. We need to see each other. We need to hear each other.
I mean, why don’t we? I think there are a few reasons.
We have become a society full of busyness. We busy ourselves to death. We don’t even have time to breathe some days because we are racing from one thing to the next. How can we possibly have time for others when we don’t even have time for ourselves? How can we serve others or be the hands and feet of Jesus when we are scheduled nonstop from the time our feet hit the floor until the time our heads hit the pillow? How?
I think we are also scared. It’s scary to get in the weeds with other people. It’s hard to take on their problems or situations. It’s difficult to carry someone’s burden. It’s easier to look away. It’s easier to utter a few prayers and convince ourselves that we did our part. Sometimes we simply don’t know what to do. So we do nothing. We don’t show up. We aren’t present. We tell ourselves that we would do something if we just knew what to do.
I just know this is not what Jesus had in mind. He didn’t want us to be so preoccupied with ourselves that we can’t be there for others. He didn’t want us to live in our own little bubbles, separate from everything outside of that.
We were designed for more than that. We were designed for community, for relationship. How can we cultivate relationship if we turn our heads away from the hurting?
I wonder what our world would look like if we each committed to diving in and being willing and able to ease the burden of just one person. I wonder how different our world would be.
I wonder if some of the brokenness and loneliness in our world would fade. I wonder if hate and violence would diminish. I wonder if the divide in our country would begin to decrease. I wonder if love would abound.
Maybe it would. I hope it would.