I’ve finally found some quiet.
I hear an owl outside and the usual near-silent hum of the tivo. I can finally, maybe, let my heart move through my fingers a bit.
Last week, when the earthquake happened in Haiti, I was in Counselor Training. It was actually a bit of a shock in a pleasant way, to be away from my laptop, tv, radio, facebook, twitter & phone and focus on something other than whatever was breaking or trending. I’m not even sure if when I got home that night, I knew about the quake. The next day I heard it mentioned on the radio on my drive in and thought it unusual that the morning DJ’s would bring attention to it. Must’ve been bigger than the “little earthquakes” that happen more often and we never hear mention of again, I thought.
That evening after dinner, one of the men in CT stood up and said that a family he knows, who are missionaries in Haiti had been on CNN the night before when he was flipping channels at the hotel. He was so happy to see them and know that they were safe. But he had just recieved word that afternoon, that they were killed as their house crumbled in on them following an aftershock.
I sat there quiet. Hurting for the family left behind. Grateful for their vision. Sad for their departure when so many need to hear/see/feel the love of Christ they were there to share. A few minutes after our group prayed for them, all our car drama ensued. Nevermind the rainbow of emotions that followed the next few hours. Even after I had calmed down that night I couldn’t bring myself to look up any news or information about the quake. I didn’t want more to have to think about.
On Thursday night I did look for info after a friend said he was trying to get there to help. I saw 6-10 pictures online and shut it down. How sick am I? That I can not handle the thought, the distraction of where my mind would go, to see and know what is happening just a boatride south of where I grew up. That I could refuse to be made aware shows the selfish sickness of my heart and mind.
Friday night, with the intensity of CT behind me, I finally gave in to what I knew I needed to really take in and witness through the now, readily available media.
I can never defend my selfishness, nor would I try. In the same token, I know I was scared. Scared to look. Scared to know. Descriptions in written word that may never leave my imagination. Images that would confirm it and be forever seared in my head. In my heart.
And now they are. And I don’t know what to do with them.
Our friend Blake left Monday with a team to do relief work in Haiti. I’ve been close to my phone all week watching twitter updates from each of them and rediscovering what it is to pray without ceasing. Their selflessness is exemplary. We truly have a friend who’s friendship we have loved for some time, but now, also a friend of whom we admire in a new way.
That’s where it at I think. We have to die to self.
We can’t all pick up & go. But we can choose to know and act and allow our hearts to be broken and reshaped.
I hate that side of me that is able to shut things off and compartmentalize. I am selfish with my time. With my attention. With the capacity of what I think my heart can take. It’s horribly, blaringly true.
I don’t know how I got here, but I know I don’t want to stay.
Brian & friends in Haiti, May 2009, serving together at the Hands & Feet Project in Jacmel. All the children there are safe! (friends from left with some of the children of H&FP: Jeremy Breland, Joe Leavitt, Chris Thomas, Blake Thompson, Brian, Bill Hampton & Jamie George)