I have been watching in horror, as no doubt you have too, as news reports of death and devastation come to us from Haiti. The lack of emergency response infrastructure in that country will prolong and magnify the suffering. There are still people alive but trapped under collapsed buildings. There are survivors whose bodies are mangled, but no medical care is available. The dead are everywhere with no services available to cremate or inter them. No food, no water, no shelter, no sanitation, no medicines. 5% of the population has HIV/AIDS and the lowest doctor:population in the world. (2 doctors/100K). Bad information circulating. Rumors, lies. Coastal people are flocking inland for fear of an ensuing tsunami.
Humanitarian agencies are in full swing. Lives will be saved, and suffering will be abated, but imagine the fear and desperation in the meantime. Lives will be lost needlessly if those trapped cannot be freed. The sick, the elderly will fall prey to hunger, dehydration, exposure to the elements. It breaks my heart and overwhelms my mind to consider it all.
I have 2 thoughts on all of this: 1) God is bigger than any disaster wrought on this earth. He can and will work all things for good. There is and will be suffering in all of this. But this is a time when we can and will band together to bear Haiti's burdens. I know that Christians are sending up prayers of intercession to God, even as I type. Christians and non-Christians alike will give generously of their resources, time, talents and money, to provide aid and comfort in this time of need in Haiti. I even dare hope that Haiti's capacity to deal with catastrophe will be fortified and improved as a result of the attention brought to this destitute part of the world.
2) See the scripture tag on the right sidebar - this is a scripture I have come to again and again in the last several months. I have alluded to having had a tough year in 2009. I won't go into detail, but one of the most difficult things I have faced is the death of my father, a huge and powerful figure in my life. And that was only part of my "annis horribilis" (to quote QEII). One of the positive outcomes is that I have had so many loving and compassionate people rally around me and my family, who have helped in so many ways. I often reflect on how Christians are exhorted to "bear one another's burdens". This year, I have experienced that in a very real and meaningful way. I have also been given the opportunity to put that command into action. It is one of the most powerful human interactions I have ever experienced. To come alongside someone in their time of need, or to have someone offer you comfort when you are suffering is something beyond words for me. So deeply touching. Tomorrow, maybe I will find the quote from Gandhi how losing yourself in service to others is how you find yourself. A beautiful thought.
Please consider what you may have to offer. Time. Talents. Money. The Red Cross allows you to designate donations for Haiti. Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) has a presence there, and Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot urges and tracks donations from her following of knitters. Click on that link for her eloquent post.