I’m sure one would have to be in a cave in the deepest of oceans or on some faraway planet to not have heard about the devastating earthquake last week in Haiti or to have seen the pictures of the devastation and the suffering.  As a man that works in TV, I’ve seen the pictures and heard the stories more times than not.  Though I’m not a reporter, I do have a journalist-based education.  I was taught how to be a proper journalist…something I still give my main professor kudos to for teaching me that.  However, I cannot ignore my humanitarian side through all this.  And have caught myself tearing up or even openly crying during this situation.  I have found it heart-wrenching…and very sad.  Even the other day at work, the reporter on the ground during a taped piece had to say she had had enough and couldn’t handle anymore.  The topic as to what she was talking about had finally gotten to her.  And it was easy to understand why.  If I was a reporter on the ground, I, too, would need some personal time to go off and process everything alone.

I grew up in an all-white community (or at least 98% white).  And during my college years, when I was still going to church with my mom — which usually made her happy –the priest of our church changed.  This new man, a black man was going to be over the congregation…the all white congregation.  The even bigger difference in it though was that he wasn’t even an American.  He was Haitian.   Over the years, he did many good things for the parish, and though he was strongly anti-gay (and I would fume at his sermons on that subject), I do respect the man for his convictions and he is entitled to his own beliefs.  Though he is no longer at that church (and the parish doesn’t even exist anymore), and I no longer go to church with my mother, the events last week in Haiti brought back a lot of memories.

We had a sister parish down in Haiti while he was there.  We would send presents around Christmas time for the children and daily essential items for the community.  The archbishop even came to visit us.  Our priest went down there, with donations from us, and built a school for the children of the village so that they could be properly educated and could help start turning their country around…which is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.  The school still stands after the earthquake, but my former priest still wasn’t sure about his family and his friends.  The archbishop of Port-au-Prince is dead…not really sure if it’s the same one that we got to meet or not.  So my heart sinks even further into great sadness upon this personal connection.  Even now, as I am writing this story about my past, I am tearing up.

And yet, somehow, out of a great disaster comes greatness and compassion.  The nations, and the people, of the world have been reminded that we are all one in the same.  To quote President John F. Kennedy, “We all breathe the same air; We all cherish our childrens’ future; and We are all mortal.”  Stories of survival…even days after the quake collapsed buildings on top of people… are still coming in.  It’s these stories that give us hope in finding more people alive.  But we don’t fool ourselves that death will be a major after effect as time goes on.  The countries of the world are rushing aid into the small nation as fast as possible.  And it’s the overall people…those of us that see ourselves as not only citizens of our nations but as citizens of the world…that are moving all to help.  Maybe it’s because we are soft at heart or maybe it’s because it is in these times that we are able to put all else aside and work toward the common goal of a simple survival.

For those of us that are religious (or at least spiritual in some form), we know that it is going to take a lot more than just prayer to help in this recovery.  We must not let this slip from our mind…even after the media coverage has dwindled away.  We must remain steadfast in helping the people of Haiti rebuild their basic infrastructure, or we could watch as the nation falls into anarchy.  They, too, are citizens of the world community…and they, too, have the right to life as we all do.  Though my heart is saddened, I will not lose hope that tomorrow will be a better day for the people of Haiti.

Out of the ashes can rise the great phoenix.


3 Responses to Haiti

  1. James S. says:

    For a list of organizations active in Haiti, click the following link.


    It will take all of us to make a difference. 🙂

  2. Josh Mraz says:

    Great ending James and a very inspirational and touching personal story in relation to such a large issue.

  3. musicnmyhead says:

    That is going to be the true test. All of us remembering Haiti and it’s people in the months and even years to come. The media (even with its faults) does keep in our face, and keep it relevant. We have to keep it relevant after its no longer a news story.
    Thank you for sharing!

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