What I Learned from the People of Haiti

Everyone knows that there is always a gift in a crisis.  I watched this last week, every time I had the opportunity, the devastation in Haiti.  I mean, who could miss that.  But, I saw something else that brought me to tears many times.  I caught a glimpse of the resilience present in so many.  I saw their Spirits, their Essence leading the way for them, including the ones who were recovered after 9 days, 11 days – alive when they "should" not have been able to survive.  What kept them breathing?  What brought them through?  The strength of what we all have inside but many don't stay aware of it.  We have a Soul that can pull us through things we find unimaginable to have to bear.  Do you use it or just give into your pain or despair or hopelessness at  moments when what you perceive as awful is happening to you in your own life?  

As 56 orphans were flying to the US, none having ever been on a plane before, none knowing about how loud an old military plane can sound, or the turbulence, or…  Did you hear what these 56 children did?  Not one of them cried, not one of them screamed.  Instead, they sang, they were joyous, they knew many spiritual songs and their voices filled the plane with faith, anticipation, gratefulness – for what?  FOR LIFE, FOR A CHANCE TO KEEP LIVING.  

In another part of Haiti a group had gathered at a cemetery.  To cry?  No, to sing spirituals, to praise God that they were alive.  A 15 day old baby was found 8 days after the original earthquake.  How could that be?

It reminds me of a movie I saw many years ago called – The Gods Must Be Crazy.  Did you see that movie?  It was about a coke bottle changing this small island of people who had never heard or seen anything like that. Competition began – we want that bottle, no we want it….  The analogy is that – these people perhaps, in Haiti, have never been introduced to things like "but why don't I have this" or "how could this happen to me?" or "Life sucks" etc.etc.etc.  I know that baby hadn't.  I know those orphans hadn't.  I know that those who were spending their days by the cemetery hadn't.  

How do I know this?  What would most people you know be doing after such a disaster?  What I became clear about was that, most days we don't take the time to be grateful for our next breath, for the one we just took, for the privilege of being able to have water whenever we want.  I know that many of you have lived through earthquakes here, downpours of rain, just like last week, but we have lost sight, some of us, of seeing ourselves and each other as Souls filled with the goodness, the joy, the absolute beauty inside and out of people.  Yes, some of us have been very wounded by the cruelty of some, but I know they, the so-called cruel ones, must have been hurt in the past and are taking it out on others, rather than learning how to heal from that great grief they carry. 

My great desire for you (and I trust for yourselves) is that your heart can grow large enough to allow what is to be.  To know that you are doing whatever it is that you are called, by Spirit, not your ego, to do.  You are in charge of what you think (as long as you are conscious of what you are thinking) and you can think "Thank God I am able to walk, to talk, to take a breath, to be generous, to be compassionate, to have the feelings that some are so cut off from.  

I applaud all of you who have taken the time to look at your own life in this past 2 weeks and have seen it from a brand new perspective.  I trust the rest of you can and will.  It is gratifying, to say the least.

One thought on “What I Learned from the People of Haiti

  1. Debbie

    I can definitely relate to this blog, since I have seen things differently in my own life for the past 2 weeks. My favorite news picture so far has been of a woman looking up to the sky, singing. It really made me think to myself how thankful these people are just to merely be ALIVE – something I wish more people could do (and something I am striving to do on a daily basis myself.) I find myself complaining less – and when I DO think of complaining about something, i think about the people of Haiti and then think to myself "If THIS is the worst thing that is going to happen to me today, then my day has not been bad at all"

    Suddenly, past annoyances such as long lines, traffic, forgetting my ipod for the drive to work, running out of coffee, etc. do NOT seem to matter much anymore. I find myself taking even more time to be thankful for all that I have. Tonight at dinner I was sure to look at my water, my food, my surroundings, my company and truly feel blessed to have those things in front of me.

    The only things I have been wrestling with lately are questions…and guilt.
    Questions like: Why them? Why a country that has already suffered so much? Why not a place that was better equipped to handle such a disaster?
    Guilt such as: Boy, I sure feel guilty eating all this food in front of me when THEY have none. Man, I feel bad about using my clean water to wash my dishes when THEY don't even have clean water to drink. Things like that…..

    This tragedy has definitely changed the way I look at my everyday life and the simple blessings of each day that I have taken for granted – and has changed what I will complain about from now on….

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