A number of years ago a friend told me a story…
They were wrapping up their time in Nicaragua during which they had helped to build a home for a family. As the group members were reflecting on their experience and on what they had learned, one person held up a pebble and his shoe. He said, “I am going to keep this pebble in my shoe as a reminder that as long as there are children who go to bed hungry and as long as their are families who live in sub-standard housing, I should never feel completely comfortable.” I was reminded of this story when I read this written by Abraham Joshua Heschel in the book I am currently reading. Heschel writes, “[Humanity] is too great to be fed upon unispiring pedestrian ideals. We have adjusted our ideals to our stature, instead of attempting to rise to the level of our ideals. [We] have royal power and plebeian ideals.”
Which makes me wonder…
Do we work too hard at being comfortable?
Do we turn away from each other?
Do we shut our eyes in an effort to ignore the reality of the headlines in the news?
Do we turn inward to what we can safe guard and protect and control?
All in a misplaced desire to be comfortable?
But, if Heschel is correct that desire for comfort is our undoing limiting our dreams and causing us to lower our ideals. It is that discomfort; that unease; that unsettledness which reminds us that the world is not yet as it could be or should be. That we are not yet as we could be or are called to be. At least, that is, if you believe that me that all should have enough and all should have a place.
In a culture that values comfort sometimes above all else;
Maybe we are called to live purposefully with discomfort.
Maybe we all should walk with a limp.