I have been cleaning out my email inbox in between bouts of unpacking and putting away, sorting old messages into folders a hundred at a time. You don't even want to know how many emails I have in my inbox, all read and responded to, but still sitting there. I delete most of my email, the non-personal stuff from lists I read or ads from companies I once bought something from or the hundreds of spam emails I get every day, so all of the emails I'm going through now are things I want to keep, or at least that I wanted to keep at some point in the past. You might wonder why I didn't do this sorting during all those months when I had hours of free time, instead of now when I am surrounded by work to be done, and to that I would say, I have no idea. I just suddenly had a strong need to have an empty inbox to start the school year. I'm not there yet, but I'm making progress.
As I go through the old messages, inevitably I'm rereading. Today I've been looking at notes I received in January and February. I saw the one I sent out the first time I got back on the internet after the earthquake, with the subject heading "We are alive," and I saw the dozens of responses from friends asking if there was anything, anything, they could do. I saw messages from people asking for help with donating money and supplies, and from people reminding me that God was still God and that they were praying for us. I saw responses to messages I had sent to friends in Haiti asking if they were all right and messages making arrangements for me to speak to groups once I got to the States. I saw messages from people in the town where I was staying in the US, making arrangements to spend time with me and encouraging me.
Those days seem a long way away now, and yet as I read the emails I feel those emotions again, the panic and fear and the rush of adrenaline, and the gratitude as well.
If you wrote to me during those days (and many of you did), thank you. I think I answered everyone, but I know that you can't understand how much it meant to hear from people who cared and who wanted to help, both while I was still in Haiti and after we had been evacuated. My inbox is full of evidence of people's love and concern, and even though I am putting that evidence into folders, I couldn't possibly delete any of those messages. I won't ever forget the way I was supported by my friends and family when everything around me fell down.
7 hours ago