One week ago today, people around the world were going about their individual lives. We were going to work and going to school; we were rejoicing in our own celebrations and lamenting our own sorrows. We were not, for the most part, thinking of a poverty-stricken country in the carribbean called Haiti.
And then the earthquake.
As so often happens, tragedy brings us together – rich and poor, young and old, black and white – for one moment in time, we are the same. We are human. We’re husbands and wives, mothers and fathers. We laugh. We cry. And the heartbreak of one, hurts us all.
Yet we cannot truly understand.
Unless we are there in the midst of the pain and destruction … walking the rubble, smelling the stench – trying our best to help, while fighting roadblocks, despair, fear, and rage – we can view all the photos there are to see, and still not understand.
So it will be that days will turn to weeks, and weeks months ; the photos will lessen, as will the reports, and we will return to our individual lives.
And we will forget.
Yet we musn’t. We must continue to pray for those on the ground – for compassion in the face of resentment; for strength in the face of bone-deep weariness; for wisdom in the face of logistics; for integrity in the face of rebuilding; for hope in the face of utter despair. And we must continue to give – both our finances and our time – not only to Haiti, but all those in need.
Perhaps the Irish say it best, “It is in the shelter of each other that people live.” We each have a part to play. For some, money, others sweat, still others, tears. And we must continually work together – not only when we are hit with a monumental crisis – but always. We must be the voice for those who have none. We must share our wealth, our wisdom, our love – our hope. When we are strong, and our neighbor weak, we must stand up and be his shelter. It is the only way some will dare survive; it is the only way we all can truly live.