While I could happily tell you stories of our adventure to the zoo today or just how awesome our family is and how much I love our family reunions, there is actually an international news story taking place.
Amy Winehouse has died.
I don’t know Amy, I wouldn’t recognize one of her songs if I heard it.
I can recognize her from a photo and have read headline after headline about her drug abuse, visits to rehab, drinking problems, legal problems, etc. For several years it’s been evident that, no matter what her musical ability, she was a train wreck in action.
When I read the news blurb that she was found dead in her apartment today my initial response was, “Eh, I’m surprised it took this long!”
I shared the news of her death to a few other people and all of us were completely unsurprised. We talked about how we knew she was deeply troubled and how she had just gotten out of rehab. We just chatted about her life and trouble and moved on to talk about something as inconsequential as the weather.
Now, in the quiet of my evening, I’m feeling pretty bad about the whole thing.
Amy was not a friend. She was not family. I’m not even sure I could get connected to her with the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
She was obviously in trouble and making devastating life choices but none of her choices impacted my life in a personal way.
So why should I care whether she’s alive or dead?
I really don’t care.
Except I believe there is a connection between all things. I believe there is a Creator who made humans in His image and each of us has the vast responsibility of honoring that Creator in our humanity.
If I do not care about the train wreck that was Amy Winehouse’s life – enough to even sober for a moment at her death – when exactly do I start to care about others?
Do I begin to care when their death takes place in my country? In my state? In my city?
What about if they are involved in my religious faith? My college alumni network? A Facebook friend? A family member?
When is it proper to care for someone? Is it ever ok to really not care about another because their life has no bearing on your own?
If we stop caring ia a part of our own humanity and ability to relate to our surroundings compromised?
Is there ever a time when it’s absolutely right to stop caring? When someone has made so many poor decisions distance and apathy toward them are the only logical answers?
I’m torn tonight because I don’t care. In fact, there’s a little part of me that reads the headlines and judgementally thinks, “Well, she certainly had that coming!”
But there’s another facet of my thinking that feels like I really must care or I will be giving up something crucial to the human condition we call “life.”
After all, when it is all said and done she’s just a 27-year-old girl with hopes, dreams and ambitions. And I was 27 once with hopes, dreams and ambitions. My kids will be 27-year-old girls with hopes, dreams and ambitions.
Our worlds are different but they are also the same.
What am I losing when I refuse to see our shared humanity and experience compassion?
What do you think?