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Monday, January 25, 2010

Is there Hope for Haiti?


 "What Else Can I Do" by Karla Anderson

Add natural disaster to poverty, despair, homelessness, and hunger, disease, and being orphaned, and you might just get a twinge of the helplessness the world feels in trying to reach out to the people of Haiti.  What we have begun to feel as helplessness, though, is not hopeless.  The images are truly amazing and heart-wrenching - if not altogether miraculous.  A small child smiling and hurling his arms as wide as the world itself.  A teenage girl being pulled from the rubble after more than 8 days motionless and without food or water under a barrage of concrete.  A precious 15-day old baby crying and recovering from head injuries.  There is a God - a good and loving God, even in the quake of despair you feel His presence - as angels from around the world reach out, feed, hold, hug, cry, grasp, care for, and pray for the living, and the souls of those who lost their lives and were never afforded a proper burial.  It breaks my heart to pieces.

Haiti8This past week we have all been deluged with images that make us - to some degree - no matter how small or how large - take a deep breath, tense up our jaws, and want to catch the next plane to Haiti to help.  I have found myself overcome with grief for a people that I didn't give a second thought to before last week's earthquake, not so much because I didn't care because I do, but mostly because I, like many of us, found myself preoccupied with my family, our life, our own troubles.  What could I possibly do to make a difference in another part of this world?  And it brought me back in my mind to the images of the aftermath of the 2004 quake beneath the Indian Ocean that resulted in a Tsunami so devastating along the coastal communities of Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Indonesia as to have swept away over 250,000 lives in nearly a blink of an eye.  Or, more emotionally - to the images of September 11th that left nearly 3000 innocent souls at the gates of death, and thousands more grief-stricken and scarred for life.  However, 9/11 was created by evil and hatred, Satan himself showing his cunning presence in our world - not by natural disaster.  

Boy with ArmsWhat frightens me is knowing that the stories and images of war and natural disaster will desensitize our children by overexposing them to scenes of cruelty, violence, and suffering.  Should we feel shock and distress? Absolutely.  We are not expendable.  We are human.  In a world filled with so much negative, how can we find the positive?  Are human beings on the other side of the world or the other side of the street of such little significance when compared to an overall purpose as to be abandoned and ignored?

My friend, Charlie Pratt, recently wrote: "There are lots and lots of other pressing problems in the world. There are plenty of things to compare it to, reasons that will keep you from sharing your blessings with those who have less.  And yes, there are liars in the world, corrupt politicians, greedy businessmen, shady clergymen, drug dealers, thieves, and the rest. A sinner’s buffet, around us all the time. These things anger us, threaten to distract us from the fact that the helpless are dying.  Down in Haiti, right now, there teems the cruel result of the juxtaposition of extreme poverty, despair, and natural disaster. Insult to injury. A speedier death to those already dying. A fast-forward to a living hell.

Haiti7.jpgThis isn’t a guilt trip. This is a heaviness. It’s part of you too. Give yourself a moment to feel it. Allow yourself the gift of sharing the burden with them. It’s a heaviness there, crushing these people, these fellow humans into dust."

We do need to feel it - down to the core of our being.  We need to feel the grip of their suffering and let it grip at our heart so that we reach out and help.  Why?  Because there is an angel in all of us, and nothing in this world feels quite so remarkable as helping, giving, sharing, caring, and loving another with no thought of recompense.

Please give to the people of Haiti.  Please reach out to help.  And then, when you have done all you believe you can to help the people of Haiti, give something to your neighbor.  Reach out to a friend, a stranger, or a family member.  Live with a forgiving heart and a sensitive soul.  Our time on this earth is precious and short, and we should treasure each other who share this world with us.  Cleanse your soul of Haiti12  hate and regret, bitterness and judgment.  Find God's presence and goodness in your own heart and make a difference - today, tomorrow - this year and in this lifetime.  If we all, or even just a few more of us, tried to understand and care for our fellow man, this world would be a glorious heaven on earth in which to live for us all.

There is Hope for Haiti (and our world) - and it begins with you - and me, today.

Please Give.


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