My husband works with young adults in one of the most crime-ridden, impoverished cities in this area. One of his young men was shot by another, and while one lies fighting for his life in a hospital, the other is running for his out in the world. The enormous gulf between our family life here and the lives of people in that city, just 18 miles away, is unfair. The many obstacles that need to be overcome on a daily basis in order to survive and to have a chance of escape are discouraging and depressing. I am sad for both of these young men. Sometimes it seems that despite any opportunity they may have to live a more fulfilling and successful life, and regardless of their courageous efforts to reach for those opportunitites, their fate is inevitably tied to their surrounding culture of poverty, criminal behavior, and violence. Their chances aren't good. I am sad, too, for my husband, who cares so much about these young people and who is hurting for them and their families. He lives part of his day in that world, and then comes home to us, and I can forget the reality of where he has been all day. Lately though...I just can't.
Last night we watched The Lord of the Rings - the Fellowship of the Ring as a family. My husband had never seen it before, but our son had been urging us all to watch it with him, so we did. There is that quote by Gandalf, addressing Frodo who is feeling distressed, frightened, and not altogether hopeful about what lies ahead. Frodo wishes it all away.
"So do I," says Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times.But that
is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the
time that is given us."
I think that what my husband does is very important, and as discouraging as his work can be, I think he knows it is right for him to do it. His time makes a positive difference in the lives of peole who don't have many choices about what to do with their time. It is a good fight.