“It seems like, then, that we should be encouraging people to make margin in their life so they are freed up to serve others”. This comment, from a community leader in Georgia at a poverty alleviation seminar, sums up a train of thought we’ve been on recently. What he caught onto was the idea that perhaps the best way to help others and ourselves is to chill out with our Western propensity to over-commit.
Now to some people, making margin in their life might seem like common sense. What’s so earth-shattering about that? Maybe it’s the fact that we know it mentally but don’t apply it practically. Why is that?
We Don’t Know What to Cut out
There are SO many things vying for our attention. Jobs. Spouses. Kids. House. Homework. YouTube. Relatives. Neighbors. Meetings. Emails. Sports. The list is never ending, but how often do we sit and categorize these things by Good, Better, Best? Every decision holds such emotional weight that it’s hard to know when to say no.
We Don’t Have It Consistently Modeled for Us
Americans have a particular thorn in our psychological side, a special brokenness in our relationship with ourselves—we’re workaholics. We climb the ladders (social, work, community, etc.) by the only shibboleth we know—never saying no. If our bosses, our community leaders, and our families aren’t showing a better way, a grander vision if you will, we have to generate it ourselves. That’s a monumental task—one I argue can only be done well in a community.
We Don’t Have a Vision for Community
Have you ever started talking with a loved one or a dear friend only to realize that 3 hours have already flown by? Have you ever had a really hard week with your family and someone unexpectedly drops by to offer a meal or a dessert? In those moments you realize how starved you’ve been for the blessing of community and meaningful conversation. In the midst of our busyness and staunch American individualism, how quickly we forget that we were meant for relationship!
Through interactions with our artisans, we at Dekko Trading see this clearly in India too. Broken relationships abound, so we try to meet the need for acceptance, loyalty, and true community we see here. It is a blessing to work with such generous people who at their core have fears, apprehension, heartache, and aspirations just like us. Humanity binds us and compels us to cast a bigger vision for our broken communities wherever we are. Sometimes taking the time to look for what we’ve been missing is the first step.
Photo credit: Aaron Nystrom