I started reading last night, and could only read 2 chapters because I was crying the entire time.
Greene writes about how in 2000, she read in the New York Times that 12 million children had been orphaned because of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa:
Human being are not wired to absorb twelve million [...] bits of information [...]
For a person who is not a mathematician, epidemiologist, demographer, geographer, social scientist, medical anthropologist, or economist - for a person, say, who barely knows anyone with on of those jobs [...] numbers with so many zeroes are hard to fathom.
Presumably you can make a variety of calculations and graphs with numbers like [12 million],
but hats off to anyone who can begin to imagine what this really looks like, what this means.
Who was going to raise twelve million children? That's what I suddenly wanted to know...
Who was teaching twelve million children how to swim?
Who was signing twelve million permission slips for school field trips?
Who packed twelve million school lunches?
Who cheered at twelve million soccer games?
Who was going to buy twelve million pairs of sneakers that light up when you jump?
Backpacks? Toothbrushes? Twelve million pairs of socks?
Who will tell twelve million bedtime stories?
Who will quiz twelve million children on Thursday nights for their Friday-morning spelling tests?
Twelve million trips to the dentist?
Twelve million birthday parties?
Who will wake up in the the night in response to twelve million nightmares?
Who will offer grief counseling to twelve million children?
Who will help them avoid lives of servitude or prostitution?
Who will pass on to them the traditions of culture and religion,
of history and government, of craft and profession?
Who will help them grow up, choose the right person to marry,
find work and learn to parent their own children?
Well, as it turns out, no one. Or very few.
There aren't enough adults to go around...
The ridiculous numbers wash over us. This is happening in our time?
We, who have read the histories of the Armenian genocide and of the Holocaust
and of Stalin's Gulag, who have lived in the epoch of the killings in Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda,
find ourselves once again safely tucked away.
We may feel a vague sad tug of common cause with human misery on the far side of the Tropic of Cancer, but we are disconnected from it by a thousand degrees of space and time...
The Berlin Wall is down, the Iron Curtain has fallen,
but it is as if a pulsating wall of strobe lights, televised celebrities, and amplified music
has gone up mid-Atlantic or mid-Mediterranean Sea.
It is hard to look past the simulated docudramas, television "newsmagazines," and mock-reality
memoirs designed to distract us in a thousand ways while making us feel engaged with true stories.
America wrestles with its obesity crisis to such an extent that Americans forget
there are worse weight problems on earth than obesity...
How can the rest of us - normal citizens, steering along our paved streets between home and school, work and playground, mall and hardware store, holding open the front door with a foot while maneuvering inside with the mail, the grocery sacks, the purse, a paperback, the children's backpacks -
how can the rest of us break through?
- There is No Me Without You
Please do not misunderstand my intentions in sharing this.
I am not trying to set up adoptive parents as heroes.
I am not trying to say that adoption is the answer to this crisis.
Yes, adoption is one tiny way to intervene, but I do wish that international adoption was unnecessary.
I share this because I'm grappling.
We are called to be Christ to a hurting world.
How can we best do this?
How do we help alleviate the physical, emotional and spiritual pain across the globe?
Christian brothers and sisters, we need to get outside of ourselves.
We need to pray for God to open our eyes to suffering and reveal the ways we can use our talents, our passions, our money, our homes, our influence, our lives to impact a world that so desperately needs