Can you imagine being whole one minute and being broken the next with no warning, and everyone around you is just as broken or in even worse shape? I can't, and when I watch the news footage coming from Port-au-Prince, I can only stand in awe. Awe, as in awful. Breathtaking, as in the oxygen has been sucked from the room. Heart-pounding, as in what these people must be feeling in their chests as they scramble to find their missing friends and family.
I talked to a local pastor yesterday who is mobilizing a group of people to go to Haiti at the end of next week to help an orphanage with 146 children. It's in a very poor area several miles away from Port-au-Prince, with people living threadbare under the best of circumstances. The dormitories of the orphanage have been declared unsafe, and the kids are now sleeping on the ground. Their security wall has been destroyed, and their food supply is running out. The director and the other staff members are now trying to figure out how to keep all of these parentless children safe and fed and feeling secure. How can they possibly do that?
What I most appreciate about this pastor's effort is that he is opening up his trip to anyone with a passport who wants to come along. He doesn't care what church you go to or if you go to church at all. These people are in desperate need of help.
A few locals have commented online to Small Town Newspaper that they don't intend to send a dime to Haiti because they've already paid taxes that will go toward national aid, and they think "throwing money" at a failed nation won't help anybody (thank you, Rush Limbaugh). I lump those people in the same category as Pat Robertson who thinks this is another result of a 200-year-old pact with the devil made by a Haitian slave leader who revolted against the French. You lose, is what I have to say to them.
You lose because you miss the meaning of the brotherhood of man. In times like these, nations don't matter. Church affiliation or un-affiliation doesn't matter. All the debates about taxes and political parties and self-righteous judgment based on a myth meant to discredit a slave revolt become meaningless, not that they had that much value to begin with.
I can't imagine what the people of Haiti must be feeling and fearing. And I can't imagine not wanting to help them in any way possible.