“I’m not interested in whether you’ve stood with the great; I’m interested in whether you’ve sat with the broken.” – Sue Fitzmaurice
The above quote by Sue Fitzmaurice is among my favorite of all time. It embodies something so powerful that many of us follow it without even realizing it. When you think about all the kings and leaders that have ruled throughout human history, few, if any of them, are regarded as people worth following.
But look to nearly any religion, major or minor, and you’ll find a fairly common theme. Their messiahs and prophets, while very much human and fallible, all worked toward the same ends.
The Buddha, who saw great human suffering, sought to learn a way to be released from Earthly suffering. The prophet Muhammad was a courageous and strong leader, but merciful and ever-focused on lasting peace for people. Jesus Christ was famous for sitting with the broken, shunning organized religion and the wealthy elite who took everything and gave back nothing.
There’s a reason these leaders are revered by their followers.
These people, for whom entire faiths are based around, sacrificed their time as living people for the betterment of others. They each sat with the broken when they full well didn’t have to. Buddha could have continued to be a wealthy, powerful man. Christ could have quietly lived a life as a carpenter. Muhammad could have made a comfortable living as a merchant. But they all chose something else, and that is the source of our respect for them.
For me, I look for the same spirit in the people I meet. Do you pump up the powerful people you’re connected to or quietly give up parts of your life to help those who have less?
What you do for the broken matters.
Regardless of the way you might think about the world, it’s undeniably true that, particularly in developed countries, there’s a growing disparity between the rich and everyone else. Even average people who’ve done everything right are one stroke of bad luck away from complete ruin.
But the situation is made better by people with big hearts acting in good faith trying to do what they can to help. Volunteering their time, organizing food drives, and through action compelling others to do the same.
Then there are others who are focused on number one: themselves. It is so much less attractive to see somebody surround themselves with the greats and completely ignore the broken.
I don’t care about your connections. I want to know about your connectedness.
It doesn’t matter to me who you know, who you’ve met, or who you’ve got an awesome selfie with. It matters to me the broken people you’ve sat with. The hungry, the poor, the suffering, the downtrodden. It is the mark of an incredible person to sit with the broken in this way.