I’m not telling you anything you haven’t already heard. I’m writing to you because I’m conscious of my own tendency to get a kind of fatigue about humanitarian disasters in other countries and because I want to shake myself, I’m also going to try to shake you.
The news programs tell us of the scale of the earthquake in Haiti. They talk about how much suffering there is. One important part of that is how rickety civil society in Haiti was prior to the disaster. Haiti was the target of a lot of international relief in any case so they’re in an awful situation to cope with what’s just happened.
The results of a desperately exploitative colonial past, economic boycotts and successive dictatorships have left the island barely able to sustain itself in the best of times. And now this. So there’s a desperate, practical, humanitarian need for immediate, large-scale help.
The spiritual context for taking action is, to me, founded in the understanding that we are one human people, not separate. My devotion must be to my neighbour, as dear to me as my own soul. This isn’t a logical argument about why you should act, it is simply the spiritual fact of the matter – one we work hard to remain blind to because it is so terribly inconvenient, unwelcome and expensive.
I believe that choosing to act on behalf of another, especially another I do not know and will never meet, is a way of asserting to myself, to my logical mind, this eternal truth of non-separateness. A decision to give in a situation like this, or even to give to someone on the street who asks, made consciously, resonates through my being beyond my rational capacities and tells all of Me the truth. I am not helping “them” I am helping “us“.
So, with that as context, please consider doing something to help those who are already on the ground in Haiti. If you already support a charity which has a Haiti appeal, consider giving a little more. If you don’t here’s some suggestions.
But don’t just send money, pray too. Pray for those of us in Haiti. Pray for those of us who have lost our parents. Pray for us who have lost our children, our sisters and brothers, husbands and wives. Pray for us in our need. Pray for our comfort and care and health and courage and will.
May the Unknown Father rain down loving-kindness and strength upon the people of Haiti and may the souls of all the faithful departed forever rest in peace.