Time flies and I've not been motivated to post much, I guess. Almost two months has gone by since the last one.
I've been thinking about Haiti a lot since the earthquake. John Talbird brought a "mite box" calendar to our Diocesan Convention to encourage people to continue contributing to the relief efforts there. Our Diocese has had a companion relationship with the Diocese of Haiti - the fastest growing diocese in The Episcopal Church - in the past and there are still strong ties.
One of the things the authors of the calendar remind us is that we are not called to be benefactors of the people in Haiti but rather friends. That is certainly a different take than most of what we hear in the pleas for us to help. It is one thing to send a check to help nameless, faceless people but quite another to send help - a check or goods or warm bodies with the right skills - to stand with our friends and rebuild with them. I feel blessed to know John and others who go to Haiti regularly and bring back stories about the people there. I know, too, that those folks are also taking stories about us to the Haitians.
Yesterday's calendar entry was about the difficulty of transportation during tropical rainstorms. "Imagine unpaved roads of mud that have endured centuries of animal and vehicle traffic. The ruts are so deep that the trenches swallow tired. Puddles are three and four feet deep at times. Torrential rains can make travel so impossible that no mechanical vehicles can operate there." I am thinking of the many days this winter when county schools have been closed because of snow. Our small amounts of snowfall haven't begun to make travel as impossible as it can be in Haiti and yet, we have closed school countless times in the last two months!
Reading this calendar is incredibly humbling. Realizing that Chile is now also suffering the after effects of an earthquake and a tsunami requires me to rethink my priorities. I read the summary of my credit card expenditures for 2009 just this morning. I am ashamed to see what I spend eating out, for instance, and that is nothing compared to the general catchall "merchandise"!
So this is the year that I take living simply to heart. I'm not quite sure that will extend to going to the library rather than the bookstore but it will definitely take in dining out and "merchandise."