“If only my enemy were bigger than my apathy, I could have won”.
~Mumford and Sons
So I had a strange conversation with my toilet the other day. I was cleaning the bathroom and finishing by wiping down the small strip of tile behind the toilet. How it gets dirty back there is beyond me. There I was, bent over and armed with a paper towel and some generic cleaner when all of a sudden my toilet whispers in my ear.
“I am the King of Spain”.
I stop cleaning and suppress an incredulous look as to spare the toilet’s feelings (he’s a little sensitive). Politely, I say, “Toilet, clearly you are not the King of Spain”.
“Oh yes I am,” ensured the toilet, “now BOW to your King!”
Now, I’ve had some fairly deep conversations with my toilet and I know he’s not completely devoid of logical reasoning, so either he was just joking or he truly flipped his lid – pun intended. “What makes you think you are the King of Spain?” I inquired.
“Because I am,” the toilet said, flatly.
“But you’re not”.
“Oh yes I am!” repeated the toilet.
By this time I’m getting a little frustrated and decided that I wasn’t going to let the toilet win this debate. “Listen toilet, you seem to have flushed all your logic down the drain (again, pun intended). You are not royalty, you’re not Spanish, heck, you’re not even human! You are made of porcelain and pixie-dust and the greatest thing you will ever achieve in life is not the ruling of a country, but assisting in the potty training of my two-year old son.
“No YOU listen, peasant! All those things don’t matter. I am the King of Spain simply because I say I am. Now BOW TO YOUR KING!”
I’m being intentionally weird for a reason. I’m about to throw a seriously heavy topic at you so I thought I’d soften it with a little strange levity. And I promise I have a point. The point is that one cannot be something by simply claiming it to be so. There has to be some sort of action involved. Even if toilets could talk and think, it would be absolutely ludicrous for one to believe that it is the King of Spain simply by believing that it is.
Just about as ludicrous as me believing I’m Pro-Life by simply saying that I am.
Now don’t get me wrong, I really wish I could call myself Pro-Life, but I can’t. And this bothers me, but not enough to actually do something about it.
I guess it would be appropriate at this time to give my definition of Pro-Life. To me, the label “Pro-Life” has nothing to do with one’s belief regarding abortion. Sure, I’m against abortion, but that doesn’t make me Pro-Life, it makes me opinionated. I feel to put the Pro-Life label on someone who doesn’t believe in abortion without any other qualifications is an absurd gesture. By this logic, the murderer who blows up the clinic and kills numerous doctors and nurses is Pro-Life – and that’s just not right. The term “Pro-Life” deserves much more than that.
To me, being Pro-Life means that you actually care enough about the lives of others and their suffering to actually DO something about it. Being Pro-Life isn’t about blindly giving to a charity with paltry funds earned in excess; it’s about investing, really investing in the lives of the less fortunate without qualification and with potential self-sacrifices. And it’s not all about money. It’s about releasing oneself; one’s time and convenience and tears and skills and mental stability to those whom God loves just as equally.
And I really want to be Pro-Life.
Now, I want to make it clear that I believe it is a vastly foolish thing to impoverish oneself in order to fight things like poverty. A fireman does not intentionally set himself on fire to do his job, although it might happen accidentally. Unless God tells me otherwise, I honestly don’t feel convicted by spending some money to drink soda and keep my apartment warm in the winter. But I want to do at least something – SOMETHING to make this world a better place. I want to get to the point where I can see a needy friend and realize that paying for his electric bill one month is far more important than me playing a new video game one month.
So here is my current status: I’m bothered. I’m bothered by the fact that there are urban schools in my own city where black kids get the crappiest of education. I’m upset that large regions of Africa are places of literal hell on earth. I get oh-so-slightly emotional when I read news articles about disasters that obliterate people’s well being en masse. I get stressed out when I think about epidemics like war and hunger and AIDS and racism and child prostitution.
But not enough to do something about it – and that bothers me.
It’s a sad condition I am in, to care enough to be uncomfortable but not enough to act – but still enough to feel a good dose of self-loathing. So maybe I’ll start an AA group, Apathetics Anonymous. And maybe I’ll find miserable like-minded people; and the misery of our collective company will grow and rise to face the giant of our apathy…and we’ll act. Perhaps our combined efforts won’t soothe the suffering of the masses, but maybe one mouth will get fed, one child will be loved, one widow will be comforted and one lonely prison inmate will feel like a human again – and that would be enough for the time.
And maybe we could eventually say, “Why yes, I AM Pro-Life”. And say it with an honest smile.
Now, that would be a beautiful thing.