In a nearby town today, there was another cycling fundraiser for MS. There are rides all over the country – a dozen in New England alone. These events are a lot of fun and raise gobs of money for the MS Society every year. A side effect is supposed to be raising awareness. That’s a Good Thing, but its hard to know if it’s working.
I’ve ridden and volunteered for the rides on different occasions, but the subject of MS rarely comes up among participants. For example, one year I manned one of the rest stops along the route. While we waited to serve bikers who rolled in, I asked one of the other volunteers why he’d come out. His response took me aback. He’d seen a sign at his college looking for volunteers and he signed up. He had no personal connection to the disease and no idea what it was. I even think he might have gotten some kind of school credit for volunteer hours.
I’m not faulting the guy for helping out. It was great to have him. The failure to communicate the seriousness of the goals lay somewhere else. Maybe with me.
We live in bubbles when we’re part of any subculture, whether it’s the world of MS or the Christian faith, the other topic of this blog. We always assume everyone outside the bubble has the same knowledge we have and are aware of why these things are so important to us. They often don’t. The onus is on us (is that a peculiar coincidence or what? “onus/on us”) to make people aware of the worlds in which we live.
If I claim to follow Christ, it’s my duty to share Him (in word and deed) with the people I know. I try not to be obnoxious about it. People should at least understand who Jesus is and what He asks of us. That way they can make intelligent decisions about believing in Him and following Him.
It’s also important for people to be aware of what it means to be follower of Jesus. There are a lot of misconceptions out there. It doesn’t mean I’m a Republican, a homophobe, a gun-toting, narrow-minded, wavy-haired, bible-thumping televangelist, or any of the other stereotypes that, fairly or not, have been applied to people of the Christian faith.
Similarly, it’s important to let people know what MS is and why it’s so important to work as hard as we can to find a cure, reliable treatments, methods of restoring lost function, or – heck, anything at all about this stinkin’ disease. People should know and care that MS destroys lives, most often in the prime of life.
Don’t assume people know what MS is – a lot of doctors appear to be in the dark on the subject, too – or, for that matter, who Jesus is – a lot of Christians have the same problem.