|Faith is all there is sometimes|
Having just finished my lunch and taken a big gulp of coffee, a bottle of near-empty water sitting nearby, I think again about the Haitians.
Can I even come close to imagining what life is like for them at this moment?
I woke up this morning in a safe, warm environment, sleepily put on my comfortable robe, made my way to the bathroom, turned on the faucet for a fresh drink of water, descended the stairs to the main floor where everything was neatly in its place, except for the upset basket of pinecones our one-year-old playful kitten can’t seem to leave alone.
I showered in hot water. It was still dark and very peaceful. The street lights illuminated a shimmery street after a light dusting of frost overnight.
I was on my way to Soul Feast, an early morning Bible Study that jump starts my week each Tuesday. The air smelled like “money,” as my Dad would often say when the air smelled like manure. The air was heavy with moisture. A dense fog was holding in the unmistakable stench from the feed yard several miles south of town.
I love fog. I love the night sky. I love the morning sky. I love the seasons and every new development in weather that goes with them—rain, snow, dew, drizzle, sunshine, clouds, frost, gentle breezes. (You’ll notice wind is not welcome). The smell of an early dewy morning makes me want to inhale over and over and wish I had farther to walk to work.
My life, as I know it, is perfectly intact. Not so for the poor Haitians, and I can’t help but wonder how God can possibly take each of their broken lives and restore happiness.
I can’t imagine what horror they must be going through. I can’t fathom the putrid smell, the dead bodies, the heat, the hunger, the grief, the helplessness, the macabre scenes.
If there is a tragedy here in America, the country comes together in an outpouring of support with aid and money and supplies and volunteers.
In Haiti, many are still waiting for someone to come to their aid. They feel helpless and hopeless. They have no resources. They are thirsty and hungry and homeless and grief-stricken.
Over the weekend, my family sorted through my mother’s home and all of her belongings to downsize so she could move into a retirement facility. I wish I’d counted the times my mind wandered to the Haitians. We have so much—they have nothing. Mom’s extra things were divided among family members, set aside for good will, or thrown away. Guilt set in and I couldn’t help but feel sadness and pity for my fellow man whose suffering is so deep and raw in the wake of last week’s earthquake.
Only by the grace of God were we born Americans. We could have been born in Haiti. What if it happened here? Would other world powers come to our rescue?
I’m proud that the U.S. responded so quickly and cares so much. The Haitians are faced with problems of monumental proportions—it’s not going to be fixed soon.
According to an article in The Los Angeles Times, the average life expectancy there is 53 (so I’m already dead), three-quarters of the women give birth without a health attendant—think about it—three quarters! Diarrheal illnesses are the second-leading cause of death and 30 percent of children under five have stunted growth. That was before last week’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Prior health problems that existed include HIV, tuberculosis, severe malnutrition, intestinal parasites, anemia, and a host of other problems. Imagine what it will be like now.
The Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation spends $96 a year per person on health, compared with $6,909 in the U.S. There are roughly three doctors in Haiti for every 10,000 people. After reading these stats, I can’t help but wonder, would these Haitians bellyache a fraction as much as the Americans over the health care issue being proposed? Would they turn up their nose at a secondhand item? Would they give anything in the world to have clean water and abundant food? You bet they would.
They are hurting, they are bewildered, they are in a state of devastation, and yet they are deeply religious and very rich spiritually.
In my helpless state of thinking about them, all I can do is pray. God is there for all of us. There is no reason to think He isn’t in the midst of that chaos and that maybe their lives will be changed because of it. Their spiritual strength will pull them through, and in generations to come, who knows, maybe the Haitians will be in a position to come to the aid of someone else.