This week will mark one year since the earthquake. I don't know why anniversaries should be any more difficult than other days, but the twelfth of each month has been a struggle.
I have a perpetual calendar with a verse for each day. The verse for January 12th is
Your heavenly Father knows your needs. He will always give you all you need from day to day. Luke 12:30-31 TLB
I don't remember reading this on January 12th but I must have. When I got back to Haiti after my six months in the United States, the calendar was on January 16th, telling me two things. First, that I read the verse each day until I left Haiti, and second, that my husband left it the way it was the day I left the country.
Those days were the worst of my life, and yet God really did know my needs. That first night, when my kids were hungry, there was food for them. (Crackers, and some spaghetti.) When we needed a place to sleep, there was the soccer field. When I couldn't sleep, there were people to pray and cry with. When I was terrified by the constant aftershocks and the screaming, God was there. He was there for me, and my husband was there for me, and we were there for the kids, and I didn't fall apart.
The next night, when I couldn't sleep at all, God was with me. The next morning when I needed encouragement, the people in my yard read scripture with me and we sang and I felt comforted. On Thursday God brought more refugees to encourage and distract us. And the third night, I was on the internet with a friend in California who had been through earthquakes too, and who talked me down from a panic attack on Facebook chat.
We had water, and food, and when a doctor came and asked for medicine, I had that too, though I didn't know where most of it came from. He said my medicine cabinet was like a pharmacy.
I still can't talk about those days without crying, or the day when we went to the United States, and someone handed me boarding passes and warm clothes and someone else pressed money into my hands and before I knew it, there I was with my children and my parents and I was alive and I finally slept through the whole night. I'm crying now as I write this, overwhelmed by how afraid I was and yet by how much God blessed me.
He continued to bless me, to give me all I needed from day to day. He gave me friends and they called and emailed and took me to lunch at just the right time. He gave me work to do. He gave me just enough strength for each day - no more - so that I fell into bed each night exhausted, wondering if I could do it one more day. He gave me a church family that took me in. He gave my children safe schools to be in and friends. He gave me plenty to eat.
Why me, why us? So many died, and God loved them too. Why did all my family survive? I don't know; I can't explain it. It's too much, too hard for me to understand. Why did I have food and water and a place to sleep inside; why did I have a US passport? I don't know. I don't deserve any of those things, any more than any Haitian who still sleeps in a tent. I have to trust Him to meet their needs too, and in some cases, to use me to do it.
He knew my needs. And He still does. Each day, He knows. And I do my best to help others with their needs. But I am just muddling along; I don't know what I am doing. I don't think I'll ever trust myself again to know what to do in a crisis, but I do know that I can trust Him.
This week I will, inevitably, relive those days. I'm sure I will have many conversations with others who will be reliving them too. We will shed many tears. We don't understand any of this. We have no explanations. But we know that God knows our needs.