Friday, January 15, 2010

The Vastness Of Sorrow

Stumbled upon this blog tonight while doing some reading.

The Livesay family works and lives in Haiti; they work with Heartline Ministries and World Wide Village. They lived through the earthquake. Now they are working through the aftermath.

They are on the front lines of this tragedy, and they are sharing what they see and experience via their blog.

It brings it home.

I've posted several times this week about Haiti, and I am reminded that my own years in the Dominican Republic embedded some deep and permanent affection for the island of Hispaniola. I lived and taught school there for three years in the mid-eighties. The impact of Haitian culture and people was clearly felt in the DR; this week, the impact has resonated with part of my own history. I find myself so moved, and so compelled to help. And so reminded of our helplessness.

For me, safely wrapped in cotton pajamas sitting by the gentle spray of a low-wattage light bulb, it is sobering. And almost ridiculous, to know of the vastness - the incredibly overwhelming sheer amount of death and loss and sorrow and pain - and to sit here and read about it. It feels...wrong, somehow...

We're all paying attention now; the world is looking, and seeing the sorrow, the inadequacy, the lack of structure, the way much of the world lives. The way hundreds of thousands of people do life every day. We see the pictures and catch just a glimpse - maybe - of the impact of the earthquake, an event that has illuminated a country whose people live lives so far removed from what we perceive to be "normal".

The street outside the morgue in Port au Prince is stacked five-deep with bodies. Dead bodies. People. Brothers, sisters, wives, sons, mothers, daughters. Babies. I saw a photograph, bodies littered all over the street, stacked up, limbs splayed, bloodied. It was grotesque and disturbing. I forced myself to look, to see those bodies, to try to grasp somehow that each was a person, a soul, a life surprisingly cut short.

It is horrific.

I was at a party tonight. We ate fresh shrimp and dip; chips and brownies. The punch bowl was refilled several times with full cartons of sherbet and fresh bottles of ginger ale.

I spent my evening surrounded by fresh shrimp and Ghiradelli brownies and pleasant conversation.

Haiti is surrounded by death and destruction, confusion and chaos.

I am struggling tonight with this dichotomy, how life can be so safe, sterile and sanitary on one hand, and so completely devastated on the other.

I cannot fully grasp the depth of this human experience. I cannot discern the line that separates us.

I pray that God hears the cries of the people of Haiti. I pray that he heals and restores. I pray that he redeems all that has been broken.

I pray, and I send more money, and I pray.

3 comments:

Patty P said...

Intense, to say the least. It feels like it's impossible to reconcile our lavish lifestyle compare to theirs. And their humble lifestyle have been blow to smithereens. How do we fit that together?

Like you said the dichotomy is very difficult to grasp.

Keep praying. Keep, doing. Keep praying.

Enchanted Oak said...

I'm Chris, a California writer who has found your blog via "A Song Not Scored Breathing." She's connecting with you and then Tara on the blog you mention here. I went to read all of Tara's account of the situation in Haiti, and I felt the same as you describe.
Here I sit, after spending my evening in a ballroom surrounded by people who were deeply into the wine and the filet mignon, celebrating the citizens of the year for our beautiful little community. Not one word was mentioned about Haiti. Not. One. Word.
It was all I could think about between bites of filet mignon. I don't drink, so I didn't share the imbibing. Why couldn't we pass the hat for Haiti? I wondered. Just the price of one glass of wine, for the humanity suffering in Haiti. Oh, it gave me chills.
Just wanted to connect with you and say human being to human being, I feel the same as you do. Helpless. Sent the money I would have spent to a nice dinner out. What good does that drop in the hat do?
So prayer, yes. Thank you for the link to Tara and Troy.
Blessings to you,
Chris

Bill said...

Gripping, Beth. My cousin Bev has forwarded a link to this to many in our family. Thanks to Enchanted Oak for putting to words what we feel. God have mercy on them and help us to respond to their plight.