For once, I am left nearly speechless, with sadness, and with a feeling of overwhelming helplessness over the images we’re all seeing of Haiti, and the stories we’re all hearing. It doesn’t lead one to wax poetic, to be philosophical, or even to know what to say. Such terrible suffering, such incredible devastation, people still trapped, hopefully some left alive, so many dead, the faces of the children, and of the people we see trapped as time for effective relief efforts to save them is running out. Tears run down my face, and surely yours as well, when I see them rescued. My heart goes out to those still waiting for news, or who have already had bad news of their loved ones. And then in sharp contrast, the jubilation of those who have found a loved one alive.
In the era of the immediacy of newscasts, where we see it all happening on our screens, as it actually happens on the scene, we are drawn into the drama with them, and our hearts ache as we watch. We have all seen other natural disasters, the terrible tsunami in Asia that took so many lives a few years ago, Hurricane Katrina. We read of earthquakes in distant countries, and sometimes it’s hard to imagine what it looks like on the scene, what those people must be experiencing and feeling. And this time, we seem so much closer. Like so many others, my family and I have been glued to our TV. It’s hard to stop watching, and to stop thinking about what they are going through.
I can only hope, along with all of you, that all the countries and agencies contributing to the efforts on the ground there, will be able to save the lives of the injured, free as many as they can of those still trapped in the rubble, and feed and treat medically those in such desperate need. And in the meantime, all we can do from so far away is pray and watch. Many, many people have made contributions to relief organizations, but even that probably won’t provide immediate help, as it appears that in the immediate chaos it is difficult to disperse the goods and supplies they want to provide. In time, I’m sure that all of our contributions will provide great help for the people of Haiti, but for now the need appears to be for heavy equipment, highly skilled manpower, medicines, water and food. And as always, with any contribution, you want to be sure that the organizations you are giving to are reliable and will do what they say they will, and are capable of delivering what they promise.
Long term, my hope for Haiti is that the already difficult conditions there before the earthquake will improve as a result of all this help, perhaps to bring them into a condition that is even better than what existed there before the earthquake.
I join you in all our hopes and prayers for these people, that as many as possible will survive, that they get the help they need as quickly as possible, and that in time the country heals from this terrible grief. And may each of us in our own small way find a way to help, even from so far away. My thoughts and prayers are with them, and I know yours must be too.