At the end of the Public Image Ltd song “Rise,” John Lydon repeatedly exclaims, “Anger is an energy.” We normally think of anger as a negative emotion: the anger of a person who lashes out in violence or speaks a harsh word.
However, anger can also be a force that motivates us to bring positive change. Every day the news reports a story worth being angry about. Too often, we sit in that anger and feel helpless to do anything about it. Today, a group of people gathered to do something.
One of the things that angers me most is the number of people in our community who go hungry, while at the same time we have plenty of food. According to a PBS news article this week, “Roughly 40 percent of food produced in America never makes it to the table.” At the same time, many people have to choose between buying groceries, paying for rent and utilities, or purchasing medicine. We, as Americans, waste 40 percent of our food while people go hungry. For me, this is not an abstract statistic, but is the world in which I seek to offer the hope of Christ. This makes me angry.
Today, 100-some like minded people gathered at Sharon Woods Metro Park to do something about this. Despite non-stop rain that flooded steep dirt trails, we came together to raise money, awareness, and provide food for hungry people. The “Hangry 5K” embodied the spirit of addressing hunger from our anger. We raised over $1,500 for the “Heart to Heart” food pantry and donated hundreds of cans of food.
The run itself wasn’t easy, but was in a beautiful wooded course. My overall time was two minutes slower than normal, but considering the muddy conditions, 500 feet of elevation gain, out-and-back traffic on a single track trail, and recently sprained ankle, I was definitely satisfied with the run. I finished 9th overall, which might be my first ever top 10 finish in a race. More important than my individual run, it was great to see such a group of people dedicated to helping others, especially in uncomfortable conditions.
Throughout this run, I listened to songs related to food. At the end of the Public Enemy song “31 Flavors,” a voice challenges the listener by saying, “All people of good will better step up today to protect the rest.” Today, we stepped up.