My grandfather was riding his bicycle and was hit by a car. He has a broken neck and blood in his brain. It sounds awful, but that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that I don’t care.
Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? I know it’s terrible. I should care. I should feel something other than apathy at the fact that my grandfather is in critical condition. But I don’t. I feel nothing.
Some of you might attribute this to numbness. You’ll say I’m in denial, but give it a few days and I will feel something. But I guarantee you that it won’t happen. If he died today, I would not care. I just don’t care.
My grandfather is not some fuzzy teddy bear who I have fuzzy warm memories of. Nor is he some evil man who filled my life with horrible traumatizing memories. I don’t feel either extreme about him. I feel nothing. I acknowledge the fact that he’s my grandfather, but that’s about it.
You see my grandfather and I never had a close relationship, probably because my father and grandfather don’t. My grandfather isn’t “evil”, but neither is he a very nice guy. He cheats on my grandmother; he always has and everyone knows it. Seriously if you look at their wedding photo you think: “What a lovely bride, but look at that sleezeball she’s marrying.” It’s true. My grandfather just looks sleezy.
He’s also a multi-millionaire and a miser. No one sees a dime of that money, not even my grandmother. We’re lucky if we get anything for our birthdays or Christmas. My grandfather has never even attempted to buy his way into my heart. If he died about the only thing I would think is “I wonder where all that money is going.”
Growing up I only spoke to my father’s parents once a year on my birthday. It was the most dreaded phone call of the year. It was basically like being forced to talk to a complete stranger for fifteen minutes. I did not want to talk to them, and I knew they were only really talking to me to appease my father.
So my grandfather is in serious condition, and I don’t care. But I do care that I don’t care. I feel like I should care more. I mean God calls us to care in that whole love your neighbor thing. But I guess my grandfather falls into that large category of people I just don’t care about. It’s the people I don’t view as my neighbor or my enemy, since we’re called to care for both. I pray for and care about my sister-in-law, even though she is my “enemy”. I pray for and care about the international students at my school, because they’re my “neighbors”. But my grandfather? We’re not enemies. We’re not neighbors. I haven’t spoken to him since my older sister’s wedding, which was four years ago.
There are vast amounts of people I feel completely apathetic about. They’re not in my view. They’re not near me; they don’t hate me. Why should I care about them? But I feel guilty for not caring, because I know I should.
He’s my grandfather. I should be making efforts to love him. I should be putting him in my definition of neighbor. I should care that he’s injured. But I don’t. Like hundreds of other people.
My friends will say things like they have such a heart for the city of Atlanta, that they feel for the people, and feel called to love them. I on the other hand feel no such compulsion. I don’t feel for the entire city of Atlanta. I feel for small pockets I view as my neighbors and enemies. I don’t feel for the city as a whole. I don’t care about the city as a whole.
People in Indiana? I just don’t care.
People in Portugal? I barely know you exist.
People in the neighborhood down the street from mine? You don’t fall into my definition.
Kid who sits in the back of my class? I never even look back there. I have no clue who you are.
It’s as if my heart has limited area, so I define my definition so small that I don’t have to care about people. Caring is difficult. Loving? Impossible. How am I supposed to love all these people?
I suppose I don’t really think that God wants me to love and pray for the people of Portugal. Nothing against you Portugal. I just don’t know anything about you. I wouldn’t know where to begin. However, I feel guilty about my grandfather, because I’m pretty sure he falls into God’s definition of my neighbor or possibly the whole honoring your parents thing.
God has to care that I divide the world up into my black and white “neighbors and enemies” and anyone who doesn’t fall into that definition, anyone gray, I just don’t care about.
I know this is something wrong with me; I know this is something I struggle with. I even struggle praying about it. And if I don’t pray about it, how can God help me with it? But if I don’t pray about it, I’m ignoring the problem. And I’m really good about ignoring the problem.
Maybe praying for my heart to break over the world is too much right now. I think I’ll start small. I think I’m going to pray that God would help me to love my grandfather. I’m going to pray that God will help me care. Because my grandfather needs prayer. I know that. I am 99.9% sure that if he were to die today because of his injuries that he would not go to heaven. I should care about that.
God help me to care!