"Community cannot for long, feed on itself; it can only flourish with the coming of others from beyond, their unknown and undiscovered brothers and sisters."
-- Howard Thurman
The earthquakes that have hit Haiti have been devastating in every sense of the word. The destruction caused is beyond description. The tragic loss of hundreds of thousands of lives in a matter of minutes/days begs the question, as only these horrific calamities can, why?
What possible good can this serve? For those who believe in a God, these events often call into question the nature of that truth. For those that don't, more proof. For how could a benevolent creator allow such things to happen?
Well I don't pretend to have that answer. However, a rare feeling has come over me, one that I also felt in the throes of Katrina and the aftermath of 911...CONNECTION. Yes connection. I know it may sound strange but let me explain. Growing up I was a huge fan of the Three Musketeers. Mythically portrayed in books, cartoons, and movies, to me they represented the best of humanity. They epitomized chivalry, brotherhood, and service. Getting lost in their adventures I would find myself flooded with a desire to join them. Today, I feel that their ranks have grown. Having followed the news over the last couple weeks I am inspired time and time again by the heroic and selfless act of my fellow humans. Musketeers, all of you, as relief efforts have been rampant and all encompassing. From the local clothing and food drives in my neighborhood to the world wide celebrity telethon that had the cooperation of every network and was simultaneously broadcast around the world, it seems in this moment that everyone has joined to help in whatever way then can.
It seems that the worst of situations, often bring out the best in humanity. For a moment, a day, a week, a month ... we seem to unify as the one big family that we truly are. We forget borders, we forget differences in ideology, we forget what "we" want, and we ask, "How can I help?" This level of tragedy serves as a giant bridge across all humanity and we are jolted back into the values of our hearts. We are reminded at once, of both the frailty and preciousness of life on our planet, and the indomitable strength of the human spirit and the true power of love.
We are raised out of our individual lives and able to feel ourselves as part of the grand tapestry that is made up of all life. In this moment of great tragedy I am both grateful to be alive and proud to be human. Let this heightened way of being, this togetherness and unified human front that we are all contributing to, serve as a platform from which we rebuild not only Haiti, but our own lives as well.
One of the greatest factors in overall wellbeing in one's life has been shown time and time again to be a sense of community. Our health is directly affected by our level connection to others, whether it be family, friends, or the world at large. And you can feel it now, can't you? The whole world is rallying to aid an island in its time of need.
Our efforts now are crucial. They are not only aiding the physical relief of our brothers and sisters in Haiti but also their emotional relief. And I pray that we hold this same sense of community present in our minds and hearts everyday from now on. Just as every piece of clothing, every can of food, and every dollar given breathes life back into Haiti, so does every word of kindness, and every act of love for those we encounter in our daily lives. How important it is for us all to know that we are not alone, that as a world, we care for each other, and that, in good times and in bad, we are in this together.
All for one...and one for all,
Jeff "d'Artagnan" Baietto