I was in the car this morning, driving ever-so-carefully to avoid the zero tolerance policy for speeding in Alabama this week (as in, if you're going 72 in a 70, you're going to get a ticket, pal), listening to the Vehement Protesting in the backseat (the carseat has become a blight on Asher's otherwise happy babyhood. He's hot and bored and old enough to complain. If anyone has any insight on how to placate a child in 106* heat in a car with no rear AC, I would love to hear it. But I digress) ... ANYWAY, I was driving this morning, and out of nowhere I had a coherent thought.
I don't have a strong opinion on the war anymore.
I used to rail against it. A few years ago, a friend left my house in the middle of a social gathering because the conversation got so heated. But lately - I can't even remember the last conversation in which I offered an opinion about it. That's odd, don't you think?
I see two reasons for my recent lack of protest. The first is that the situation has become more complex. It's an unstable society now. Do we just leave it in chaos? But all of our attempts to help establish order haven't worked so far. And who cares if we should or should not have gone - we're there now, we've been there a long time, so the argument for or against it is moot. Also, I know very little about the history of the region, and the alliances and enemies that have formed over time. So I can't speak intelligently about it, and if I can't speak intelligently, it's probably better for me to say nothing at all.
The other is much less philosophical. In the past few years, my dad has retired from the military, and my friend who was in the military at the start of the war has finished her time and gotten out. In short, I don't have as much at stake. Which makes me wonder - did I ever care about war as a concept? Did I really have such a strong opinion in the first place? Or was my "principle" that I love my dad and my friend and I didn't want them harmed? Maybe I'm not as political as I think I am.
Which makes me like most people, I think. This is just my opinion - I have no data to back me up - but don't people typically care about issues that affect their lives, and care less about issues that don't? I know there are selfless Shane What's-his-name's, who make their own clothes in protest of sweatshops. But most of us don't. Most of us say "Amen!" to his argument, then go to Target.
Jesus said that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends. Why did he specify who to love? (I know there are other Scriptures that talk about enemies and brothers. Even so - He always specifies, doesn't He?) Did he know how hard it would be for us to empathize with strangers? Or how big the world is, and how much suffering we would see in our lifetime?
In the face of suffering, our choices are straight forward. We can become calloused, overwhelmed, or respond with peace. I always thought I was responding - but maybe I'm not. Maybe, just like everyone else, I care about those who care about me. When the human element is removed, my philosophy wavers.