Monday, April 4, 2011

A Long Time Gone














and in many ways, they still will not come.

I woke up on January 12, 2010 my normal self. I was still reeling from the loss of our third child, stillborn at 5 months, but I was healing as each day went by. I was living my life finding joy in all those small moments with my children that add up to a life of complete happiness, despite any negatives that might come our way. One earthquake in the only Third World country in the western hemisphere later, I was no longer sure of anything. Certain events, whether you are physically present for them or not, can mysteriously grip your heart- and the quake in Haiti, for lack of a better description- consumed me. There were approximately 50 families missing loved ones at Haiti's finest hotel, the Hotel Montana. What moved me was not that Americans were trapped in this hotel, but that nearly every one of these people had left this country on a mission to help our hemisphere's most impoverished people. Nearly every single one of them gave their very lives to do so. I waited with these families, and cried with these families. And somewhere along the wait, I came to meet a group of people who both fled to the scene to help after the disaster, and others who lived through it to tell me about life both before, and after, January 12, 2010. I had helped raise funds for Haiti nearly a decade ago. I knew how bad things were in that country, and I am so very ashamed to say, I had forgotten enough of those horrors to push it out of my mind. Our family has not escaped the economic fallout here in the United States, but as great as our personal challenges have been, I have always been the one in the crowd saying "this could be so much worse". How much worse came roaring back into my conscious on that fateful day. It has caused me to take a long hard look at everything in my world. How we live, what is important to us, and most importantly, how we treat each other. The disaster in Haiti reinforced my feeling that we consume needlessly, we waste precious time on meaningless things, and we waste ourselves on relationships that in the long run do not better the world for their existence. A total paradigm shift took place in my heart over the past 12 months. I chose not to be burdened by possessions, I chose to make each monetary expenditure purposeful, I chose to raise my children to be the kind of people I saw lay aside their own lives to rush to the aid of people they have never met. The countless events that worked on my heart this past year are so numerous, some so painful, and others so joyful- I am not sure I can get them into the written word. But I have made a decision to try. As I go through this journey, others are going through it with me. still others began theirs with the earthquake in Chile, the floods in Pakistan, the strive in the Ivory Coast, the earthquake that shook Christchurch, and now the horrifying events unfolding in Japan. I am sad that is takes an event of catastrophic proportions to wake us from our haze of existence here in the most affluent country in the world. But because of what I have witnessed among a few people who care enough to try to make a difference in a life on the verge of flickering out, I have an unwavering sense of hope. I hope the stories I share with you here in the coming months will renew your hope as well.


Jaime said...

It's good to see you back! You're right, we have everything to be thankful for here Kristen.

mama bear said...

Welcome back. Good to finally see your writings again. Those of us who are blessed to love you, know the road you've traveled and the strength of your caring. Nurture your gift, Kristin. Open eyes of the world and we will all be better for it. So proud of you....