Monday, January 25, 2010


Coming to the United States from Haiti is always like coming to another planet. I've written about this many times; for example, here. When looking at the way people live, it's always difficult to think about the fact that not only do these two places exist on the same planet, but they aren't actually that far away from one another.

Those feelings are all magnified hundreds of times now. Instead of another planet, I have journeyed to another universe. Whatever progress Haiti was making has been demolished in less than a minute. Our lives have been changed forever. People who were already struggling to have basic necessities are in even more dire need. Haiti has always been challenging, but it has also been beautiful, and quirky, and fun. It has been colorful and never, ever dull. Now it seems simply broken, destroyed. Forsaken.

The title of my blog mocks me now. Is it really true that there's no such thing as a God-forsaken town? Is Port-au-Prince forsaken by God? Was God really there on January 12th when the earth shook? Is He there now as people suffer? I know the right answers to these questions but it is hard to believe them now.

It hurts me to see people post jokes about Haiti on Facebook, offering to donate unwanted politicians to help Haiti have a government, even consigning people they don't like to Haiti, where once they might have sent them somewhere else starting with H. As though the pain of Haiti really is in another world, felt by beings whose suffering matters less.

I must still believe, because I keep praying. Hymns comfort me, bypassing my brain and going straight to my heart. The faith of others buoys me, and I know at a deep level that God is present in the hands of those who do His work of healing and restoration. My counselor says I'm not losing my faith, that all my questioning is a normal part of the grieving I'm going through.

I think of the words of a friend at a retreat I went to in the fall. She was talking of her problems with back pain, a trouble that had sent her to bed for ten weeks. She questioned everything she thought she knew about healing, about God's purposes for her life. She finally came to the end of herself, and let go. She couldn't hold on any more. And she said that when that happened, she found out that she wasn't the only one who had been holding on. When she let go and gave up, God still held on to her.

Oh Lord, please keep holding on to me. Please keep holding on to our dear little Haiti, ti Ayiti cheri. Don't forsake us, I beg you.