Getting dirty & taking risks

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Those of you who follow me on twitter/instagram know that I was in Park City, Utah at the Sundance Film Festival all last week.  [Sorry for making you insanely jealous with my incredible social media photos. Don’t hate me.]

The photo above is from a documentary called Blood Brother. It’s an incredible film that tells the story about a normal guy, Rocky Braat, who– out of feelings of disappointment, discontent, and restlessness– moves to India and decides to dedicate his life to working at an orphanage for children living with HIV.  It is a heart-wrenching story that left me inspired, reflective, and feeling like I had received a strong kick in the butt.

Now, before you stop reading out of fear, let me tell you– I am not about to guilt trip you into moving to India, starting an orphanage, or anything else that seems extreme in your mind.  Stay with me.

There is a point in the film where one of the little boys is hospitalized due to HIV complications and Rocky stays with him day and night, attempting to nurse him back to health.  You see Rocky loving on this little boy, cleaning him, holding him, kissing his head, while he is covered in sores from head to toe.  The sick state his body was in was enough to make anyone queasy.  But add the threat of HIV on top of his condition, most people would not have touched that little boy.  But there was Rocky, cleaning his wounds and giving him the physical touch his little heart desperately needed.

And it got me thinking.

Where am I getting my hands dirty?  Where am I taking risks?

Now, I’m not being “called” to India. (I actually really dislike that word, “called” but we’ll talk about that another day.  I’ll use it here for the moment.)  In fact, I know I am right where I’m supposed to be: in Nashville, TN, at my place of work, at my church, in my neighborhood, in my community of friends.  But am I getting dirty and taking risks?

I don’t have to be working at an HIV-orphanage to do be getting down in the mess of someone’s life, to be there for someone, to touch them, to support them, when everyone else is–well–queasy by the sight of them. 

Where are you getting your hands dirty?  What have you done lately that’s risky?  –Not risky like put my life in harms way for the thrill, but risky like standing up for someone at school that is being picked on or doing the right thing when no one else will.

I want to be the Nashville, TN version of the India-HIV-orphanage-Rocky.  I want to be getting my hands dirty in my high school and college students’ lives, in my friends’ lives, in my family’s lives.  Don’t you?

So this week, identify a way you can get your hands dirty or take a risk on behalf of someone else.  Get outside of yourself and look for hurting people around you.  Look for someone that makes other people around them uncomfortable or queasy.  Be the “YOU” version of Rocky Baart.  Get dirty and take some risks.