Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lessons from Haiti

The day after the earthquake in the heart of Haiti, I watched all news updates with intense interest. I went to CNN and watched heart wrenching videos of the disaster. Haitians were running in panic down what used to be a main street – strewn with debris and lined with flattened buildings. Husbands screaming because they can’t find their wives. Mothers screaming for their children. Families torn apart. The camera panned to dead bodies strewn in all directions. A tear fell from my face. Suddenly, an ad popped up next to the video I was watching. It was a picture of a designer stiletto with diamonds studding the heel. I was instantly reminded of the stark contrast of what was happening in the poorest country in the western hemisphere versus the comforts in which we live.

Those scenes haven’t left me.

As the week ensued I watched more horror unfold. People buried alive. Excavators dug mass graves. The stench from the dead was so potent it caused many to faint.

I watched as a woman pleaded with rescuers to help find her daughter. Where? She pointed to the daycare center, now a pile of concrete. The rescuer yelled into a crevice, “If you can hear me, tap three times!” A faint tapping was heard. A dog trained to smell live humans scoured the area finding nothing. The rescuer yelled again, and continued the routine for several hours while digging. The tapping stopped before they could get to her. Her mother sobbed.

Others stood by collapsed homes, knowing their loved ones were pinned inside. But they lacked the proper tools to get them out.

A 10-year old girl remained calm and brave despite her leg being crushed and pinned by a concrete beam. Her uncle worked furiously trying to get her out. She cried out, “God, don’t let me die. Oh, please, God. I don’t want to die.” Hours later she was freed from the rubble. She died on the way to the hospital – three hours away.

Where there was heartbreak, there was also triumph. A 70-year old woman was rescued from a church seven days after the earthquake. Earlier that day, an 18-month old baby was rescued from under the rubble of a flattened day-care center and reunited with his mother. Miracles indeed.

May God bless the Haitian people. May they be comforted and unified. May we learn from their pain and sorrow and be inspired to live better lives and to contribute more to the betterment of humanity.

Impact Your World

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Here's To A Year Of Four-Year-Old-Isms

And how they have helped me remember why it is important to be present in every moment.

Watching him out the back window, his hair matted to his head from the rain as he dipped his wand in the bubbles, and blew. After a couple of minutes, he saw me, he smiled and mouthed the words I love you while he gave me the sign in sign language.

Tucking him into bed one night and pressing "play" as his Mary Pope Osborne book on CD started to play. His eyes got big. He sucked in a deep breath, then said, “I love this one! It makes my heart beep and beep right out of my chest!”

Walking into my office while I was “in the zone” and dumping an armful of leaves onto my desk and computer. He had collected them especially for me.

Telling me one day that Happy + Sad = Purple.

Riding in the car one day and he said, “Look at those pretty clouds up there. I want to get one for you, but it’s too high for me to climb.”

“Mom I have a bloody nose and there’s blood on it. But that’s okay, I just ate it."

"Mom, will you marry me?"

Telling him I had to get beautiful before we went to church he said, "But, you already are beautiful." Then he whistled at me as I came out of my room in make up and a dress.

Bowing his head to pray before dinner, he started, “Once upon a time…” Then went on to tell the most fantastic story about a bunny, then ended it “amen.”

Telling the boys to use the bathroom before we left. I had to ask him three times, and on the third time he pleaded, “Mom, I can’t because I’m all out of pee!”

Asking me, “Is a male a boy?” I said "yep." Then he asked, “Is an email a girl?”

Telling me, “Mom, I love you more than my lego set.”

When asking him how the circus was he replied: “The clown hates me.”

Laying down on my bed due to a severe headache. He came into my room and said, “Mom, I can make you feel all better, just like you make me feel better when I’m sick.” Then he took his little hand and put it on my forehead. "See, don't you feel better now?"

Dum Vivimus, Vivamus
While we live, let’s live