My mind is in a haze. There is something that has been blocking me from breaking through. These are vague descriptions, but they are the only ones I can muster to describe the confusion. Since I have arrived in Boston, I have been going through the motions. I have been getting to know the staff, learning the way around the city, getting information on the ministry sites etc. I have shared my testimony, tried to open up, maybe then the fog would clear. However, every conversation I had, every bit of information I received never could break through the fog. I was not being affected by what I was hearing and seeing. The poverty, the violence, the brokenness, I was unaffected. Perhaps unaffected is not the best word. It’s more that I had seen it all before. I had spent the previous summer immersed in conversations and situations where the heavy brokenness was staring me in the face, penetrating my whole self. I had felt brokenness. I had wept every night for it. I had trusted in God’s strength to power through it, and by the end of the summer I was a transformed person.
Reentering back into school and the life of a college student was not hard for me, because I was excited to share what had transformed me with everyone I knew. I was plugged in with ministries and programs in my town, but it was very different. I found myself becoming immune. I spent three months during the summer in the hoods with broken children and in the city with hurting people, and returning home to see it only in small doses and on a small scale, it was if I wasn’t seeing it at all. It wasn’t that I was disillusioned; it was that I was turning inward. I was closing in on myself. I became selfish, returning to my own brokenness and settling in it, letting it be my shield that I could hide behind, that I could retreat to. I knew I had deep rooted brokenness that had not been fully dealt with and that I had not been healed of. However, instead of seeking the healing I needed, I retreated into the solitude of my mind. This was no shield of strength; this was the strongest flaming arrow the enemy launched at my soul. Self-centered solitude, with the veil of “self cleansing reflections.” I lost sight completely. I became so inward that I lost sight of the world around me, the severely broken world.
The past few days here in Boston we have been gathering more and more information about the brokenness of this city. One of the focuses is human trafficking. We had someone who is working with an organization helping those who have been trafficked into stable and safe environments. Not only were these sessions plagued with gruesome statistics, but also a few of the hosts decided to watch an MSNBC series on Sex Slaves in America, from the large urban cities to the small suburban towns. How could I not react to this? Of course I was shocked at the numbers and the sickening details, but I would not break. Why? Why was I struggling so much through the fog of trying to be broken for this city, but being incapable of truly connecting.
Then I realized, that my inwardness was building a wall between the world and me. What I thought was healthy reflection on my own brokenness in order to reproduce the fruits of humility and grace to others, was actually creating a division in my life. My thoughts were on my own brokenness, and not on the brokenness of the world. I had seen the brokenness, I had felt the brokenness, but I had become so consumed with my own that I completely lost connection with everyone else’s. I spent the next hour weeping in the shower, not for my self, but for the world. I wept for the brokenness that unifies all humanity. It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone is broken. And the biggest lie you could ever believe is that you are isolated in your own faults, in your own scars. You can’t bring healing to yourself, and you can’t bring healing to the world. Therefore, we must join together and weep together for the broken, battered, sickness that unites humanity. We weep, not because we are hopeless, but because we know that the Lord hears the cries of his people and because He is the only hope of our restoration. We must be poor in spirit to receive the kingdom of heaven. We must mourn to be comforted. We must be meek to inherit the earth. We must hunger and thirst for justice to be filled. Weep with me for justice, not just for our own sake, but for the sake of our world.
Praise the Lord that simply weeping for others can lift a heavy fog of selfishness.
- Kelsey, CSM Boston Summer 2012 City Host
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