Monday, January 31, 2011

hunger struggle

On the drive home from school today, I saw two billboards.  Here they are:
Hunger Just Read This, Too. FULL
And, for whatever reason, I couldn't get my mind off of the the choice of the word "struggle" in these ads.  Some people struggle with a certain addiction, or with math.  I struggle with pride and learning history.  When a fly gets caught in a web, it struggles to get out.  Someone who is not a strong swimmer might struggle to keep afloat in the deep end of a pool.  There are many ways that the word struggle could be used.  I don't think this is one of them.  Or maybe there is perhaps a better word.  People suffer from hunger....they don't struggle with it.  

There were about 20 minutes between each of these signs.  And these were the types of thoughts that ran through my head in between.

By the time I got to the second sign, I remembered a haiku that I had written nearly two years ago.  I had just sent in my application to seminary (not the seminary I am at now), and was feeling all the things that someone feels when they send in an application to something they've been thinking about for a long time.  On top of that, I was also feeling nervous that I would become one of those nitpicky theologians that gets hung up on one stupid word and dissects every little sentence to death to extract every possible meaning from it, all the while usually alienating people and completely missing the point.  All for the sake of letting the world know that you know the proper definition of a word.  I did NOT want to become that person.

So I wrote this haiku for myself, knowing full well that I might have the tendency to go down that road.
Here it is, in case you missed the link above:

Look in the mirror
Say to the theologian
Get over yourself

Flashback to the billboards.  Here I am, worried about the word struggle...struggling with whether or not it really is the best word for the billboard, when...the whole POINT of the billboard is that there are people in our own country who are hungry.  It sometimes gets overshadowed by the fact that all the rest of us are fat, but it does not excuse the fact that there are people who, for whatever reason (probably finances, mostly), who do not have enough to eat.  The links in this paragraph will take you to various places on the website where you can educate yourself or donate, etc.  There's even a page that talks more about struggling with hunger.

Who knows.  Maybe struggling really is the best word.  If the point of the billboard was to get people to visit the website and really consider that others are hungry, then they got me there.  If the billboard said something like "suffer" I would've probably said something like, "Hm. That's too bad." and then went and ate dinner with Steve and forgot about it.

Anyway. I'm trying my hardest not to become the snobby, persnickety theologian who misses the point because she's too busy trying to say the right thing in the right way.  

1 comment:

Laura said...

For whatever reason, I am "struggling" with the formatting of this particular blog post. The way it looks when I'm writing it looks different than when I post it, and it looks even more different still when I read it in my reader.

Ah well. Little ironic that I am picking on one little word on a sign when I can't even get the words in my blog to be where I want them to be.

And yes, I follow my own blog on my reader.

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