Click. The phone line went dead. I got hung up on. What did I say wrong? What did I do? I still don’t understand it. I was mid-sentence in an amicable interaction, and next thing I knew, the conversation was over. Have you ever felt cut off like this?
I sat in a meeting with a woman in our shop one morning. She shared that her daughter, an ocean away, was having surgery but she could not go to her. When she fled her country, there was no way to go back. Her daughter chose to stay, so they are separated indefinitely. She chose to leave and now she was cut off from her daughter in a moment of great need.
We all have moments where we feel like we are powerless. We want to act, but there is nothing we can do. It’s the moment when a friend loses a job, our parents have a marriage conflict, we receive the brochure back from a printer and find a misspelled word. There is nothing we can do to change what happened.
Sometimes we need to be impacted by a problem with no solution. Deep down we want to be fixers, but there are many times we are left wondering what happened? We sit asking questions that can’t be answered. Those moments feel hopeless, but they ultimately create compassion and empathy.
It is in moments where we can’t solve a problem that we realize we are human. These moments are called problem identification. We see and feel brokenness so strongly that we want things to be different. If we are always solving problems and never feeling their affects we will fail to understand the hurt caused by them. Next time you feel brokenness, stop and let it impact you. Social issues impact real people, so we must be real with solutions. Not every problem can be solved – it’s the first step in understanding how small we are in all of creation. Problem identification will happen when we understand hurt and gain compassion toward people.
This is why Plywood does the work we do. Through our Billboard Bags project we remember to be affected by the problems of other’s everyday lives. This is also why we work with social entrepreneurs. As we brainstorm best practices of problem solving, we are also affected by the dysfunction that they are addressing. More problems are solved because more of us are identifying with the problems. We would love for you to consider joining us in this work. If you would like to give to Plywood People, please consider being a monthly donor through this simple giving page. www.plywoodpeople.com/give