Last night I watched a show on the famine-ridden country of Niger. There simply is no food. They eat rats but the rats are starving also, so they do not provide any sustenance.
The utter sadness of the situation is no matter how much I give, it will never be enough. I can give to Niger but there will still be people in need there, not to mention the Tsunami struck regions, Pakistan, Iraq, India, and all the world over where people are starving, living in mud huts, and eating rats. Rats.
All this fills me with overwhelming guilt. How dare I look longingly at the houses at Ansley Park, or get frustrated when I experience writer’s block? I have food, a roof over my head, live a better life than most of the world’s population. So how dare I be anything but happy and grateful every moment of every day?
The closest explanation to resolve my cognitive dissonance is to turn to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs who says that by our very nature we strive to grow.
The people of Niger are at the most basic level of need, survival. They need food. Some people in other countries are at the safety level. But no matter which stage you are in you want to eventually move to the next level.
Being higher up on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I naturally want to improve and not be completely satisfied at where I am. I should still be grateful for the good in my life, but it’s okay to want more.
Life isn’t fair…. I hope that the pain and suffering that the poor of Niger, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia. etc. etc. etc. will mean that God will have mercy upon them and forgive their sins.
I dont know if this entire post is a fancy way to explain away well placed guilt…. but hopefully it will resolve the cognitive dissonance I’m experiencing.