Monday, January 18, 2010


Right now I am completely overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed with grief and pain and fear. I am reading bad news about people I know and love. I am wondering if our dear Haiti will ever be the same again.

I am overwhelmed, too, by the kindness of strangers and friends. I left Haiti on Saturday with my two children and a small bag each, and now we are all dressed head to toe in other people's clothes, talking to professional counselors, being given things and bought things and encouraged and helped.

Overwhelmed, too, with guilt - why me, why is my family all alive when so many others are dead, why am I getting all this love and affection when others are still lying under buildings, why did I get to leave when others can not?

Leaving was such a difficult choice, because a huge part of me wanted to stay and suffer this with my Haitian family, but I was sitting at home taking care of my children, using resources others could use, distracting my husband from his relief work because he was worried for us. I have stayed through many crises in the past: a flight embargo, a US invasion, kidnappings, the departure of a president leading to days of violence and chaos - and yet all of these things now seem so trivial, leaving me wondering why we were making such a fuss.

I am overwhelmed by the idea of continuing with life, making choices, decisions, looking at the future. How? How, when people are still missing, and beloved friends are having funerals, and tomorrow promises to bring more of the same?


Anonymous said...

Ruth, I don't know why you were spared and others were not. I can only empathize with your pain and sorrow, and trust in our Father to bring some good out of this tragedy. Hugs to you.

Kristen Howerton said...

Ruth, I am so sorry. I can't imagine. I know how traumatizing it was for me, and I don't even call Port-Au-Prince home. Praying for you as you figure out what life looks like now.

Janet said...

I'm sorry. It's all too terrible to understand.

Praying and feeling for you, and wishing I had better words.

I don't know why you were spared... but I'm so thankful.

Sherry said...

All I can say is that I am praying, and I know many others are, too. Take it a day, an hour, even a minute at a time, and trust that the Holy Spirit will guide and will speak for you.

Unknown said...

Those of us who are so blessed, have so much, and live in such safety and luxury, find that in situations like this we have only trite things to say. We watch the footage and look at the pictures, and it's too much to take in. We can write a check or click the paypal button, and while it helps, we know it's not enough to bring back one precious friend, or a lifetime of work that now lies in rubble.

We are so glad that you were spared, but at the same time we weep for the thousands who weren't.

Unknown said...

Ruth, I am sure Steve is relieved that his family is safe and sound. Now he is free to dedicate all of his time and energy on the relief effort. Sometimes the most sacrificial thing you can do is get out of the way. We are constantly lifting up your family in prayer. The first thing Ethan said, as we were watching the devastation unfold on the news, was, "I hope Suzette and Sebastian are okay."

Tricia said...

Hey Ruth, this isn't said to diminish what you are feeling in any way, but the first thing that comes to mind is "survivor guilt." You're grieving and in pain. And you are overwhelmed. We will lift you up in prayer so you can feel the healing arms of the Father around you.