Stop Complaining and Do Something

There’s a guy who posts #noconversion on every Opportunity International Australia Facebook post that mentions India.

I don’t know why. I guess it is his way of taking a stand against Opportunity converting people in India. From what to what, I couldn’t tell you. If he would take a moment and look at what we do then he would realise that we convert people from poverty to not-poverty and if he is against that, well, he can bite me.

But, regardless of that, he still posts his protest.

I saw a picture of women in Indonesia recently who were working through the challenges of COVID and the obstacles that they faced, all whilst wearing t-shirts that said “Stop complaining and do something”. Immediately this made me think of the Facebook guy.

Social media is not the real world. It is not even a proper representation of the real world. It’s a façade, built around a ruse, pretending to be a thing. It can be useful but it is limited. To make actual change requires the courage to articulate what you are for (I care very little for what you are against), and to put your time and money into that. I would suggest that 99% of that activity would happen in person. Being on social media is not ‘doing something’.

Also, in case you were wondering, neither is complaining.

Charity Case

Asking for help can be one of the most difficult things to do. It requires us to put our need out in the open and be vulnerable about a short coming we have.

In a world that seems to value independence, creating our own path and not needing anyone, asking for help is a sign of weakness and vulnerability is a dirty word. So those that do ask for help are seen as lazy, unable to help themselves or even called a charity case.

That’s an interesting term. In our language today it is a negative phrase that we use to put people down with, to write them off and not have to think too deeply about what is happening for them. But its true meaning is basically someone in need of help.

I am going to say, even at the very least, we all need the help of someone else once a year. It’s most likely much more often than that, once a month, once a week, probably at least once a day.

Why do we carry shame around that?

Shame is about fear and judgement based on the idea that being in need is weakness. But I see that asking for help is the most courageous act a person can be involved in.

I speak to many people who are generous to organisations that assist those in great need, not because they judge the recipients, but because they have been in a place of need themselves, or can at least imagine what it would be like, so they give.

Being in need is not a sign of weakness. Acknowledging need and asking for help is a sign of great strength.

Courage

If it was easy anyone could do it. If it was easy, it would already be done wouldn’t it?

Certain things in life are difficult, usually because the problems that we face day to day are not easily fixed and are multifaceted. Be they relational, financial, spiritual, emotional, life is a complex combination of joys and difficulties. Stuff is tough. That’s okay.

This is just as true when it comes to poverty. It is a complicated, multifaceted issue, which is also man made. We have created this construct which puts many people into a place where they don’t have enough to survive.

Whilst we have made significant headway in the fight against poverty over the last 40 years, there is still a way to go until we have overcome it. And I have to admit, there are times when I get so frustrated at the sight of many people, mothers, fathers, children, still trying to survive. But just because it is difficult to overcome, doesn’t mean that we should avoid it. And it certainly doesn’t mean we should stop fighting. Because the people that we are fighting for are worth it. So we continue to take one step at a time.

Like the American author Mary Anne Radmacher says:

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.