Why causes? Why compassion? Why?

by Chrysula on January 19, 2012 in empowering women and girls,sharing,women

On More. And No More.

Is it guilt? Is it a sense of over-arching privilege that compels us to reach outside of ourselves? Is it selfish, even self-righteous and narcissistic? Or is it pure, born out of the deepest well of charity, of true compassion?

We give because we feel better when we do. Because it lifts us, makes us good. Is that bad? To want to feel good? Does it matter to whoever we touch that it benefits us as much, if not more, than them?

I live a life of enormous privilege. I’ve been on the receiving end at a food bank once, but that is not my every day. It was an outlier experience. There is always more to want. I am as materialistic as the next person. I like beautiful things. I appreciate quality. Ah yes. More. More space for the children, a larger room to entertain in. Soccer lessons and dance classes, karate and violin and piano. A handbag. Please, a new couch! A second car. My own iPad. A beach vacation, just the two of us – my beloved and me. A trip to see my family who are so very far away. More.

Are those wants and desires intrinsically bad? They help keep people in jobs, families sustained. I remember the CEO of a former employer pleading with us in our New York offices a few days after 9-11. He begged us to remember in the midst of our grief and shock, how many families back at our mid-West plant were relying on the work we did in New York. Suddenly our (at the time) seemingly frivolous products took on new meaning. Perhaps it is not about how I consume, but why I consume. To indulge or to contribute. Maybe both.

Is it bad to desire every possible opportunity for my children? Lately, as I soothe my son’s nightmares, I think about all the 5 year olds in the world whose scary monsters are real and not figments of their imagination, or the result of the movie their older sister watched. I prayer harder that his monsters will always be imaginary, and vow to do more for those whose monsters are not. A different kind of more.

Maybe it is self righteous. Maybe it is selfish. Maybe it is all for me. But I think about voice. And power. And standing up. With all my privilege, I have voice. I am compelled, obligated, driven, to say, “no more!”

  • No more child marriage.
  • No more abuse in all it’s ugly forms.
  • No more oppression.
  • No more violence.
  • No more women dying preventable deaths.
  • No more mothers grieving children easily saved.
  • No more boys being tortured and turned into soldiers. To rape and kill women.

The world has quietly allowed millions of women to disappear* in violence, in gender based abortion, in deliberately not seeking care for sick infant girls, in sex trafficking and abuse. Why are we not screaming about this from the roof tops? Why are we not keening in agony at this gendercide?

No. More.

Things you can do. Contact any of the organizations listed on the left hand side of this blog. Comment in my blog on the areas you are interested in and I will do by best to make suggestions. Get informed, do some research on the best ways you can help women all over the world. If you are interested specifically in women in America, go to my friends at HelloLadies.com – they have a wealth of resources.

Welcome to to When You Wake Up A Mother. We’d love to see you again. Please subscribe via email or RSS. Or follow on Twitter or Facebook. What will you do today to wake up the world? We invite you to share your thoughts, your action and your heart right here.

* In their book, “Half the Sky” authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn cite data suggesting that between 60-100million are missing from the world to day. My use of the term ‘gendercide’ also comes from this text.


britt groosman January 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

As always a beautiful post – chills down my back. No more…

Chrysula January 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Thanks to the Huffington Post who posted this essay there also:
Why Causes? Why Give? http://huff.to/ydBjZK

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