Apathy is a lack of feeling, emotion, interest, or concern about the people or things around us. The only time an apathetic person appears to come to life is when somebody comes to them with a juicy morsel of gossip, but otherwise, they don't seem to care about anyone or anything around them.
Consider Ukraine, for instance. For most people living outside the region, whatever is happening there are a matter of little concern (even if their governments are involved). They will continue to remain apathetic until they become directly affected by it. Given the speed at which events are unfolding, this won't be long. Spiraling oil prices (crude oil prices have spiked over $100 per barrel for the first time since 2014), shortage of food (Ukraine is the fifth largest exporter of wheat), and other spillovers will ensure we are affected very soon, but will it take a war to shake us out of our apathy?
I have often wondered how we can make someone care about the pain of others without going through the pain ourselves. Since I am an optimist at heart, I'd like to believe that sometimes all we need is someone to open our eyes (and our hearts) to things we might have closed ourselves to, and a few words might do the trick. As I said, I'm an optimist!
So, can we reach out to someone today — anyone — and ask them how they are? Many people are not in a good place these days, and a little concern will make a world of a difference to them. But let us not stop at conversation; let us offer to help. As James wrote: "Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? Faith, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:15-16).
"But there are so many people in need," you may say, "how can one provide for all?" We don't need to provide for all. We are not called to do so. But how about providing for one person? That surely can't be too much to do. One of my friends eats simple food so she can spend the money she saves to feed a few hungry people. Many of us don't even need to do this because we have enough money to eat whatever we want and still ensure that a few hungry people have food on their plates.
Some journeys need no roads, just a willing heart to travel on them. May yours be one of them.
And may the Spirit go with you.