Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Night and Day

I thought I should write a post in the morning, when everything looks better. I'm not always in the depths of gloom. There are good things happening in the middle of all the horror.

It helps a lot to have something to do. I am used to being busy. What I wouldn't give for a pile of student papers to complain over! But today I have something useful; some friends started their adoptions in Haiti and now the earthquake has changed everything. The children are in the United States and their parents (one here with them, the other still in Haiti) are scrambling to do the adoption in English instead of French. I started translating some of their documents last night. Something I can do and do well.

My children are well and mostly happy. They are getting to spend time with their grandparents. They love the well-stocked libraries here. They are even getting to see snow (my daughter last saw snow when she was two years old and my son never has seen it). I laughed at my son yesterday as he was putting on gloves for the first time in his life. When he put on the second one, he was having trouble with it, and he sighed deeply and said, "This always happens!" (Always, as in, it happened with the first hand. He now has a lot of experience in the putting on of gloves, having done it once.)

I am seeing and spending time with dear friends who are taking care of me so well. Occasionally I even get to talk to my husband for a few minutes, or get an email from him of a few words. He is keeping busy and in some ways, I think it's actually easier for him and for the others in Haiti doing something about the situation, than it is for me. Yes, they are under huge amounts of stress and conditions are difficult, but at least they are contributing to something.

I am gradually getting to talk to friends from Haiti and hear their stories, either on the phone or online. These are wrenching and yet I know we need to talk about them. I talked to some friends yesterday who are going through their second evacuation, having left Rwanda during the genocide in 1994. Grief upon grief. Their kids are now grown, and we talked about how they handled things with them at that previous evacuation. It's the kind of thing nobody wants to have experience with, but at least their experience may help me now.

I see my students emerging on Facebook - yes, I'm Facebook friends with some of my students, which in happier days would have been a good subject for a post - writing things in Kreyol about how sad they are to leave their home or in English about their new schools, and how much they miss their real school in Haiti. But others are talking to their friends, even joking around a little. Yesterday I saw an exchange of insults among three of my students, and it made me a little happy. I know we are all mourning, but it's good to see some signs of ordinary teenage life from time to time.

I am hearing about how many people want to help. I hope it lasts; this is a long-term project we're dealing with here. Haiti is destroyed and must be rebuilt. The problems could hardly be exaggerated. And that's where my mind often seems to end up, especially at night.

Night is the worst, as it was when I was still at home. At least now I am sleeping better. I go to sleep with earbuds in my ears, listening to Greg Boyd or somebody else talking about God's love and goodness. I mostly sleep through the whole night now. I try not to lie awake thinking, but instead stay up as late as I can so that I am completely exhausted.

The sun always comes up in the morning, though, no matter how long the night is. Life goes on. It has to, for those of us who are left.

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