I Thought It Was A Turd, But It Was Only A Hedgehog (Main Event)

About 2 weeks ago, I took the photos featured in the previous post. A hot afternoon, it was an odd time for our first Fall-themed activity, but I was eager to dive into the new season. Despite the overwhelming disorganization pervading our home and the intense hormonal mood swings I'd been subjecting my family to, I felt like a good mom for a few hours - with potential for feeling like a generally good person sometime in the near future. 

Later that night I started watching the documentary Half the Sky. It's a film (series?) centered around the work of Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn that focuses on the plight of women and girls around the world. And it was fairly devastating. Up way past my bedtime, I couldn't sleep as I thought about the stories I had just heard. 

The next day I stumbled through my daily tasks, still preoccupied with sadness, guilt, and questions about what I could do and if the little I might be able to do would ever be enough to make a difference. Finally, while Sebastian was napping and Miette temporarily occupied, I had the mental space to try to gather my thoughts. My agitated melancholic state only worsened as I realized that it was 1:40 pm and I was still in pajamas, the kids smelled like pee for want of a bath, my diet that day had consisted primarily of chocolate chips, candy corn and macaroni and cheese, and earlier that morning I had discovered Sebastian splashing in a poopy toilet with a component of a borrowed breast pump [so many things that should not have happened at all converging into one horrific scene - I could explain the details of how this came to pass, but why?]. 

In short, my life was a mess. It was not lost on me that my supreme accomplishment that week had been a neighborhood walk in search of autumn leaves (and idyllic childhood memories for my kids) while millions of girls were suffering unspeakable horrors with no end in sight. And I wasn't doing anything about it.

Unfortunately the only conclusion I really came to that afternoon was that there is a proper time for everything, and, in all honesty, I desperately needed to stay focused on the basics for a little while longer. In no way do I believe that helping others is only appropriate when we can do something spectacular, or when we have tons of money, time, or energy left over after our 'normal' lives. But for me, that day (and week), I was drowning, and shouldering the weight of the ugliness in the world was not helping - myself or anyone else. 

That evening Jesse caught Seabass in the act of toilet play once again - that boy is truly gifted at sensing bathroom access and using it to his nefarious advantage - and spoke the words that became the title of this post. Thankfully this time the bowl was relatively clean, and only this little friend suffered:

Later I had the opportunity to watch Part 2 of Half the Sky with several other women. It was encouraging to discuss the importance of finding something small and manageable - but something nonetheless - that we could do (probably by working together with a group of people) to help some of those that are suffering. There is a tension that exists - which I have clearly not resolved - between being attentive to the primary responsibilities we've been given, and being open to truths that are uncomfortable, challenging, and that require some response. 

I don't yet know what my ultimate response will be. For now it is simply to encourage other people to learn about what is happening. The more people there are that are informed about these things, the more potential there will be for change. There is a certain freedom in knowing that no one person, or even small group of people, can fully solve any of these problems alone - but that doesn't mean we can't make an impact. And any impact for good counts. A few small actions are worth so much more than lofty schemes that are discussed but never enacted.

That is all very vague, I realize, and my complaining about how depressing it all was probably doesn't entice you much. But, seriously, if you have the chance to see these films, please do. Or check out Half the Sky from your local library. It is very important stuff to be aware of, and to wrestle with. They have done a fantastic job of providing ideas and specific information about organizations and individuals who are making a difference and how you can help or get involved.


katie said…
i love this post.
i love that you share the "glorious" parts of your day and life along with the deep desire to do good in this world.
i think god whispers his thoughts for our lives into our head sometimes for us to do now, sometimes for later. you can trust that he will continue to point you to his work: the global plight of women and the toilet bowl playground.
thanks for sharing!
Anonymous said…
Love this post. I'm in the middle of the book right now... not exactly one of those kind of books that you cuddle up with in bed and fall asleep to.

Anyways, with regards to the plight of women in the world, I want to encourage you that the small actions do count! I just spent two weeks in India with 100cameras working with children of women who were enslaved in the sex industry (the women had contracted disease and died). It was amazing to hear the children's hope and to see the world through their eyes.
Alexis said…
Thanks, Kari Ann. That sounds like an amazing trip!

I agree, I don't want my feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the problems to keep me from taking small actions, though I am still wondering what those small actions should be.
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