We are deep in the throes of winter. The snow keeps falling, the weather is cold, and most of us prefer to spend our evenings wrapped up in a blanket with something warm to drink and a good book (or a television remote) in our hands. I was doing exactly that, snuggled with my children and watching the news last night, when I became completely overwhelmed with all of the negativity in our world. Within a period of about 10 minutes we learned of several murders, a fire that took the lives of three young children, robberies, floods, and so on.
No matter where I go or what I do, I cannot escape the tragedies of this world. Working at Catholic Charities I come face to face with need and pain and depression on a daily basis. I come home and see my family and friends suffering with their own challenges. Even when I go shopping at my local grocery store I overhear families in pain, in conflict, and dealing with poverty.
I know I am describing a familiar situation . . . we all live in the same world . . . and we all have a choice to make.
I read an amazing quote yesterday and it changed my whole mindset:
I think sometimes that instead of our turning the world upside down, the world is turning us upside down. Instead of us impacting our culture, our culture is impacting us. What we need more of today is a holy disturbance. And if we are not making a disturbance, then something isn’t right. — Greg Laurie
You and I . . . each of us . . . we are called to “make a disturbance.” To look at the world we live in and the challenges we face and turn the world upside down with love. A dear friend pointed out to me that Miriam-Webster’s primary definition of “disturb” is “to interfere with.” Every time we react to challenges and problems with love and compassion we are disturbing (interfering with) the world’s natural response. Every time we reach out and feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and care for others we are disturbing societal norms and this most holy disturbance is our job . . . our duty!
The more peaceful and joyful we are in the face of adversity, the more we reflect God’s love to those who don’t know it. I am not naive enough to think this is easy to do, but I do feel empowered just knowing that I’m not doing it alone! I hear amazing stories of staff and volunteers at Catholic Charities who join together to “create holy disturbances” for those in need every day. I see the compassion and love and hope we strive to impart to those who need it the most. We are called to stand out! We are called to be different! We are called to be the salt and the light in this world! In so doing, we are creating a holy disturbance and turning our world upside down.
Choose the narrow path and reach out and make a difference in love! What a blessed choice that is!
Tonight, instead of wrapping up in a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and watching television I think I’ll bake some chocolate muffins and take them to the older couple down the street. Maybe my children and I will sit down with them and just listen to their stories. They look so lonely when I walk by with the kids and our dog every evening. Maybe I need to be the one — the person who reaches out in love and “disturbs them.” This little disturbance of love, which takes so little effort in my part, might be enough to change their world.
Will you join me? Will you take part in this holy revolution? If you need some ideas of how to create a disturbance in your community call Catholic Charities and we’ll help you find a great way!