It’s a work from home day. With formidable weather in the forecast last night, several of our staffers who live a long hike from the Bright Hope office decided to not to make the trek in dangerous road conditions.
I’m one of them. So instead this afternoon finds me working from a coffee shop near my home. I’m warm and comfortable, sitting in a chair while the winter wonderland blows outside the window.
We are so far removed from the suffering happening in other parts of the world. Like in Haiti…
My waterproof ankle boots insulate me from the cold, wet weather outside. A warm bowl of vegetable soup at lunchtime pushed any thoughts of hunger far away. Feeling a little sheepish to admit it, I’m sipping the clichéd pumpkin spice latte as I type on my laptop.
In Haiti, people are saying the current crisis is worse than anything they’ve experienced.
I’ve been to Haiti. I don’t think life there is ever easy, so hearing that it’s the worst they’ve ever endured is a sobering thought.
Yet we hardly hear about the serious horrors going on in some parts of the world; sometimes I have to dig pretty hard to find news about the countries where we work.
The community we help truck in clean water hasn’t been able to get the water because of the fuel shortages. A small, poor community on the edge of the ocean, I imagine their only option is to drink salty water that makes them sick.
I know things have been bad in Haiti. We’ve been asking people to pray, and some of our work there has mostly come to a standstill. Hospitals and schools are shut down, fuel shortages continue; there are protests, roadblocks and fires; there have been violent, gruesome deaths, and it’s not safe for our staff to travel much.
But something I read yesterday made it strike my heart a little harder.
“‘There Is No Hope’: Crisis Pushes Haiti to the Brink of Collapse” is the headline of the New York Times article.
It was so poignant and heartbreaking, so dreadful and the pictures so compelling that I sent the link to our staff, telling everybody it was well worth their time.
They’re living through day-in-day-out catastrophe and devastation like I can’t imagine, and my life is entirely untouched by it.
The pure, gentle snow keeps falling outside, and I wrestle with the contrast of their world and mine. Sometimes I feel guilty.
Nothing changes in my world while Haiti is going through hell.
One coworker replied to my email with the article link saying:
“Thank you for sharing Sarah. Wow. We have no idea what is going on. Lots of prayer needed.”
That was yesterday.
And today I’m sitting here in the cozy coffee shop thinking, how do we not forget? How do we avoid getting so fully absorbed in our world—our to-do lists, our work and responsibilities, our needs, our winter weather advisories and our lattes—that we don’t even know what’s happening in other parts of the world?
As Christians, how would He have us remember and respond?
I’m not sure, but I do think focus and remembering are a big part of it. Where is my focus? Focused on myself and the legitimate things I need to take care of and accomplish? Or focused on the needs of others?
We remember what we keep before us. Some things are hard to forget, but other times we have to choose to actively remember. Despite all the things competing for my attention, I don’t want to forget the suffering of those in Haiti. I might not be able to do much for them right now, but I can pray. And the power of that can’t be calculated and should never be underestimated.
So one thing I’m going to do is this: print this photo and put it on the cork board in front of my sink. Then, when I’m washing dishes in the coming days, I’ll remember the Haitians and instead of letting my mind wander as I scrub, I’ll take their plight before the throne of God.
Just imagine if we all did this… What a beautiful sound it would be to the Lord, and what an encouragement it would be to those suffering in Haiti.