a week and a half ago i tweeted almost nothing but poetry.
the night before i’d been reading a book on the fall of the soviet union. i’d been reading about collectivization in the 1930s and then on twitter i was reading news articles about the girls in nigeria who’ve been kidnapped.
i read an excerpt from a poem by anna akhmatova in the book i was reading and nearly shut it right there. “the world needs more poetry,” i thought, and that night i pulled out my library of rainer maria rilke and ingrid de kok and scheduled quotes from their poems to post all the next day.
this world, it’s a hot mess and it’s our fault.
it hit me that tuesday night as i read: in the space of thirty years, starting with the armenian genocide and including the holocaust, world war ii, and the soviet union under stalin, no less than one hundred twenty two million people lost their lives.
this does not include people who died because it was the natural end of their lives. this is people who were beaten, starved, mistreated, burned, gassed, and shot to death. this is people whose lives were systematically taken. this is people who were purposefully oppressed.
this also includes those people who selflessly gave their lives fighting to redeem these horrors. but this percentage pales in comparison to the rest.
i grew up hearing to check myself before i wrecked myself but how often do we even check?
ourselves, much less the world.
how often does our small footprint testify to the mark of humanity on this earth? and in which direction does that small footprint point?
so often it points our own way, instead of toward others, instead of toward our planet.
“i should like to call you all by name,
but they have lost the lists…”
you’re not the only one, akhmatova.
but it’s seventy years and wars upon wars later and even if i had all the names would i even know where to begin?
i’m a broken soul wondering if stepping is the right thing to do.
which way? how? when? with what energy and resources?
if we’re broken and know the One who will mold us individually to be useful and kind, then i believe we who broke the world know the right One to mold us collectively into a useful, kind people.
but where do we begin? which step is the right step?
maybe just the recognition is the first thing, and then, as i heard a missionary say a few weeks ago, “preparing to go and [being] willing to stay.” maybe right there is where we need to situate. preparing for action, waiting on His word to do it, constantly searching for His face.