Today, on an unusually chilly L.A. morning, I went to my Pop Physique class and happened to throw on a shirt I haven’t worn since I got back from Africa. As I was lift-hold-squeeze-lift-hold-squeezing, I could still smell Ethiopia on my shirt. Tears pricked my eyes as I remembered the rocket fuel coffee, the delicious berbere, the van like a rickety roller coaster, the strong hugs of the women I met, the tears of this little sweetheart at the orphanage.
It was a painful dissonance– the immense privilege of my lift-hold-squeeze morning (that I had grumbled and complained about) and the smell of the green hills of Ethiopia, where I had seen so much hardship. Sometimes this dissonance and the guilt that comes on its heels can make me want to turn away– just recycle once in a while and throw 25 extra bucks in the envelope with my museum membership and call it a day. I barely even have to look at messy things like extreme poverty, if I keep my eyes trained straight ahead. It hurts to look around.
Look around anyway.
If you’re anything like Scott and me, you’re scrambling tonight to finish up your year-end donations. Still one day left! Help One Now is the amazing organization I went to Ethiopia with. They’re raising funds fight now for Ferrier Village in Haiti. Join Scott and me in buying a brick (or 2 or 10!) for this amazing community, dedicated to rescuing vulnerable children from human trafficking.
Tonight, I aspire to hold (if not lift and squeeze…) my family, my friends, the kids of Ferrier, you… on into a bright 2015.
See you there!