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open my heart to haiti

Broken Heart
I’m stunned by the sea of devastation.  My heart aches for the people of Haiti who have been through so much and now have to endure so much more.  It is unbearably tragic. 

But why am I not more upset?   How can I listen and watch those pictures from my cozy home and keep on going with my mundane daily tasks?  Oh yes, I add one more thing–I go to the UMCOR website and enter a donation–a drop in the bucket to help the folks in Haiti, but if I’m honest, I also do it to help myself feel better. 

What else can I do? 

I have been near the epicenter of a strong 7.1 earthquake, but in a wealthier place with architecture built to withstand the earth’s movement.  Few people died, but it rattled me to the core.  The aftershocks kept coming, and we never knew when another “big one” would hit.  For years I would grab my desk–ready to dive under–every time a truck drove by or heavy boots walked the halls, even where an earthquake was highly unlikely.  It was a gut reaction.

Where is my gut reaction today?

Why does the flood of news about another horrible tragedy make me uncomfortable and sad, but not outraged?  How can I compare this news with the number of souls lost in other tragedies?  Why am I surprised when my children come home from school, shocked by the horror of it, and realize that they are more emotionally vested in this than I am? 

When I hear of a famous man’s despicable statement about Haiti, pointing fingers instead of offering love, why do I roll my eyes and move on rather than wrestle with outrage like dear Heather did

I don’t know why. 

Am I jaded, overwhelmed by the great need in so many places?   Have I decided that my efforts are too small, have too little impact?  Am I coping with the emotion I cannot handle with calculated logic?  Has my heart grown cold, numb, hardened?

I do not know the answer.  But I need to put why aside.  

For now, there is one thing I can do:  to give where I know it will serve.  There are so many wonderful, generous efforts underway.  Our family supports UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, who is already working in Haiti and is often the first in and last out.  100% of gifts go directly to the relief effort.  If you’re looking for a trustworthy place to give, I highly recommend it. 

We can also harness the collective spirit of community.  My husband and I would like to contribute at least $1 extra for each unique commenter on this post toward UMCOR’s efforts in Haiti.  We had an amount in mind, but we’re open to being stretched and shaken by your compassion.  So please, add your thoughts about how to connect and respond to such global (or local) tragedies.

And we can pray.  I pray for the people of Haiti, and I pray for God to bring forth an earthquake in my soul–to shake me up and crack open my heart. 

Creative Commons License photo credit: CarbonNYC

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5 comments to open my heart to haiti

  • Glad you are able to put aside the why. Money and prayers help. At such a distance that is about all we can do. But it is helpful especially if you include your kids about what you are doing (for example talking about UMCOR and exploring what they do). We can help our kids learn about being compassionate.

  • [...] Hearts breaking for Haiti: Rebecca, Country Parson, Beyond Just Mom, Laurie, Anita, Facebook Folks, Ox Herding and many others. And yours, I [...]

  • Kelly Robertson Notar

    Thank you for such a thoughtful introspective. I really appreciate the information about UMCOR. It’s refreshing to hear that they use 100% of the donations to directly support the aid efforts. I’m going directly to their website and donating this minute. And yes, part of my motivation is that I too will feel better.

  • pam

    Carol–I appreciate the reminder to share it with my kids–some hope in the midst of the tragedy.
    Kelly, thanks so much for responding! The United Methodist Church supports all of UMCOR’s overhead so any UMCOR donations go directly to relief.

  • Hi. Just going through some old comments and thought I’d stop by to say howdy. Hope to see you again. :D

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