I don’t know about you all, but I have been on an emotional roller-coaster for the last 2 weeks. My mood swings from sadness to grief to pride to irritation to worry back to pride and so on.
I am sad, sad for all those whose lives changed in the instant we call an earthquake and in the days that followed that earthquake. Then my sadness turns to grief. Grief for all the people who have lost a loved one. Grief, for those of you who have not experienced it, is overwhelming. Your body and soul feels like a part of you has been ripped away. The pain is real. How will you live through the day, the dark of night, without your loved one? How are our sisters and brothers in Haiti living through such pain? Not the loss of one, but the loss of so many.
We all remember Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent floods where at least 1,836 people died. Many Americans had ties to someone, somehow, that was effected by that Hurricane. For you maybe it wasn’t a family member, but there was some connection, through friends, family, co-workers, somehow. Our Nation was changed by that event. Now try to imagine a loss greater than 80 times that, in a country at least 34 times smaller than the United States. It is likely that every person who lives today in Haiti knew or loved someone that died because of the earthquake. It is almost unimaginable to me.
Then I start to feel pride, pride at how people are responding. We give money, we offer food, clothes, water, supplies. Through givehaitihope.org we have been offered donations of time, money and tangible goods. We have been contacted by school groups, businesses, girl scouts, individuals, all feeling so helpless, yet wanting to help. Waiting for a word from us as to how they can realistically help. We all have heard the message that money is what is needed most right now. Volunteers appear from nowhere to organize bake sales, car washes and yard sales to generate money for those so desperately in need. We have groups collecting shoes, energy bars and MRE’s, gauze, antibiotic creams and water purification tablets. Still we feel helpless.
Then here and there I feel irritation, irritated at the question that is asked too often, ”why are we helping the Haitians when there are so many homeless Americans right now?” When I get asked that question I want to answer “Seriously?” But I take a deep breath and explain, to the best of my ability, why I choose to help and hope it enlightens them.
Then I go back to grief. I remember when my Mom died years ago, I had to go to the mall to get black socks for my son. When I walked in the mall and saw all the happy people shopping I got mad. I wanted the world to stop that day and remember my Mom. I didn’t want to see Moms and daughters together happy. It hurt too bad. I felt that way today when I went in the mall, I felt that way much of last week when Knoxville couldn’t stop talking about Lane Kiffin. I want the world to stop and grieve for those in Haiti. The hurt for all those families grieving rushed back into my heart and I pray we don’t forget this tragedy too soon.
Then on my emotional roller-coaster I begin to worry. Now for those of you who know me, I am not a worrier. I believe that God holds us in his hands and worrying has no value. But at the moment I can’t help but worry. I worry about the medical and rescue workers in Haiti, with the never ending line of patients, who continue to help no matter how exhausted they may be. I worry about the Haiti Outreach Program’s team preparing for their trip next week. Will they have enough room for supplies on their plane, will they take enough food? Will they resist the temptation to give it all away when they may need it? Will they remember to rest? And then the pride comes back.
We will and can make a difference if we put our hearts and minds to it. Oui nou kabab. (Kreyol for yes we can)
I am sure the roller-coaster won’t stop for a while. I pray that the light that is currently shed on Haiti remains there and that in the months and years to come we continue to reach out with a helping hand. Please continue to pray for the people in Haiti, both those who have lost loved ones and those working tirelessly serving.