Like any procrastinator, I weighed the brainpower necessary for (1) packing and (2) blogging, figured that packing would require less brainpower, and, therefore, packed while watching a film instead of writing my blog.
While tempted to watch all of season 3 of What’s New, Scooby Doo?, I instead watched a documentary film that my dad gave me called I Am.
In I Am, director Tom Shadyac asks each interviewee the following questions: What’s wrong with our world? What can we do about it?
G.K. Chesterton responded to the former in a letter that read, “Dear Sirs, I am,” and Shadyac uses this for not only the film’s title but also its ending narration:
“So now I ask one more question, what’s right with the world? Here’s to the hope that one day we can all answer the same way, ‘I am.’”
I leave the United States saying, “I am,” as meant by Chesterton in his letter with the hope of returning saying, “I am,” as meant by Shadyac in his ending narration.
In his interview with Shadyac, Desmond Tutu says, “the truth of who we are is that we are because we belong.” Mother Theresa made a similar diagnosis of society’s problems when she said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
I am wrong when I see myself as separate from others and treat others as separate from me. I am wrong when I treat my neighbors (literally the house next door) as strangers. I am wrong when I limit my definition of neighbor merely to close geographic proximity. I contribute to what is wrong with the world.
Anyone can recite phrases like those of Tutu and Mother Theresa. But, to allow the fundamental human interconnectedness that they celebrate seep into our everyday actions and show that we do, in fact, belong to each other proves to be much more difficult.
So, may the people I encounter in Uganda serve as a sort of fuel that lasts a lifetime – a fuel to be what is right for the world.