A study in contrast: what is luxury?

I don't blog about politics. I don't blog about war. I don't blog about my country's policies in interacting with those outside our borders. I don't publish my personal viewpoints online and have appreciated my readers' respect not to do so in the comments of my blogs.

Am I a coward?

Regardless of what I do or do not discuss in the open forum of my blogs, I am deeply affected by what I see and read - both in the mainstream media and in the alternative experiences and perspectives I find online.

Most of the time it's easy to turn a blind eye to things that make me uncomfortable. It's too painful to consider actually having to do something. When faced with this much information, then what?

And so today, even when so much is running through my head and I'm occasionally crying for strangers who will never be my friends, I return to my Very Important To Do List. I have bills to pay. Deadlines to meet. Potential clients to woo.

What luxury. The definitions of "important" take on new implications when I'm forced to acknowledge, even intermittently and from my safe distance, widespread human suffering. And yet while widespread human suffering has existed for all time, merely not on my television or computer screen, I'm still going back to my list. To my deadlines.

It's even an empty luxury to whine about how "difficult" it is to get back to work when there are people suffering. I don't feel pride that I'm not willing to give up my "luxuries."