Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Who’s Feeling Small?

I am not alone, certainly, in watching news clips of the happenings in Haiti and experiencing shock, anguish, and tearful hope and wonder as people are still being rescued seven days after their world was trampled. I am probably also not alone in marveling at the fortitude of the people in general and especially those rescued. The courageousness of the rescue workers, the families who are standing by broken-down buildings day after day hoping for signs of life, and the media for helping to share these sights with us cannot but inspire devotion to seeing Haiti rebound, better than ever.


In contrast to the ugliness in the words of some, who seek to blame the victims, I watched as a husband stood vigil (six days after the quake) outside a demolished bank building that was being bulldozed, racing forward each time the machines stopped to call for his wife. And he found her... alive, thirsty, and in pain. And she wanted him to know that no matter what happened, she loved him. It was a moving story, seen here, but what struck me the most was what she said, moments after her rescue, to the newsman who asked if she thought she was going to live.


Her answer: Live. Why not?


For those who blame these amazing victims of a geological disaster, I say think carefully about what blame they’ve earned. At my count, their humble heroism is responsible for making me feel small and petty for all the things I have the luxury to complain about in my own life. These people make me want to do more, pay more attention to the world out there, take an interest in seeing the situation in Haiti improve. These people will survive and triumph; that is what I believe and I completely blame the Haitian people for that belief.


Some will point to the looting as evidence against the heroes, but for every time we in our daily lives show some ugliness toward each other (when not under true duress), like say in traffic, to our food server, to our office mates, or to our families, we are displaying all that is required to one day be desperate and unruly enough to be part of the problem instead of the solution.


All I know is that what I want to be in my life is a person who says, “Why not?” in the face of everything. Will we triumph in our journeys? Why not? Will we be better? Why not? Can we all do a little bit more for others in this world? Why not?


And if I am fortunate enough in my life to evolve into the person I most want to be, you know exactly what I am going to do: blame the Haitians.

20 comments:

Jemi Fraser said...

LOVE this post!!

People amaze me continually. Thankfully most of the amazement is at the courage, kindness & generosity. Sadly some of it is at the incredible ignorance & selfishness.

The stories of love and courage outweigh the others. It gives me hope.

DebraLSchubert said...

I just watched the CNN video. Unbelievable. These people are so beautiful and brave.

Shame on you, Pat Robertson, for spouting such shameful, cruel, ignorant words. You have many who believe everything that comes out of your mouth. Shame on you.

Thanks for this post, Julie. I will remember, "Why not?" And, most of all, long live Haiti!

Chuck Schubert said...

Amazing story. Thanks for your post. The human spirit continues to shine through.

Livia said...

Thank you for this post. I can't even imagine what that would be like.

Cynthia Schuerr said...

Julie, What a spiritual and hopeful post about the strong will of the Haitians. I watched the video and am in awe of these people.

I want to be one of those 'why not?' people.

Thank you for the strong reminder.

Bless you,
Cynthia (cswriter59)

kristina said...

Fantastic post - thank you for reminding us all to answer as often as possible, "Why not?" to life's most difficult times.

And while I love Mister Diamond, when you "used to be" a teacher, it changes a you in a most permanent way. I "used to be" a high school English teacher and boy do I miss that energy.

Allison said...

Beautifully Said...

Julie said...

Hey Jemi,

Thanks for the comment! And I completely agree. Today, a five-year-old boy was found, eight days after the quake. Such strength and endurance amazes me and the will power to keep looking through the wreckage day after day humbles me. For all the bad that can be found, we humans can sometimes be incredible.

Julie said...

Hi Debbie,

I second your "Long Live Haiti." And shame on anyone who blames the victims instead of seeing through the eyes of love and mercy. Luckily, they, the haters, are the few and we are the many. And we'll get better, too. Because, why not?

Julie said...

Hi Chuck,

Thanks for commenting and for sharing a love of the human spirit! I'm thinking, you and a certain someone should be writing a song about now. She's a small person. Tell the cats to drag her away from her editing, and write an inspirational song for the people of Haiti.

Julie said...

Livia,

Thanks for stopping by the blog. I can't imagine what these people are going through either (I was whining about a long dentist appointment yesterday and feeling like an ungrateful troll for doing it). Gratefulness would be a blessing to come out of such a horror, wouldn't it?

Julie said...

Cynthia,

Welcome to the blog and thanks for the kind words. I've watched that video many times because it fills me with hope and makes me cry. The husband's face when he realizes that he's found his wife takes my breath away. To glimpse true love occurring right there in the midst of a tragedy is incredibly poignant. Glad I am not the only one so moved.

And here's to being a "Why Not?" person!

Kasie West said...

Your post just gave me the chills. I hadn't heard that story of the man waiting outside the bank, but wow, what love and devotion and faith he had. And her answer was beautiful and inspirational. Thank you for sharing this and the new perspective it gave you on life.

Jessie Sams said...

You and the Haitians just gave me the boost I needed right now. Thank you for writing such a beautiful post and for making me ask "Why not?" in my own life.

Julie said...

Kristina,

Thanks for the comment. I completely agree with you about teaching being a life changer. I miss that energy, too. What a tough and amazing job teaching is. I'm so glad to have experienced it.

Julie said...

Allison,

Thanks!

Julie said...

Hey Kasie,

Wasn't that news story amazing? That couple inspired me so much. For all the stories of ugly divorces and couples being snarky, their love, faith, and hope under such terrible circumstances are like beacons for the world. We have to see such things to know what is possible.

Julie said...

Hi Jessie,

What's amazing is that I doubt that woman will ever know how profound her "Why Not?" was to other people. But I guess we seldom know the ripples we leave in the lives of others. Let's just hope some of ours are as positive and powerful. :)

Frankie said...

Well said.

Kathy said...

Good post.