In 2014, Haiti got hit with the Chikungunya virus, which caused a lot of pain and suffering here before just about everyone had had it. It didn't kill, but it did hurt, at the time and for months and months after. And one thing that we noticed was that it seemed to affect older people worse, and especially older people who had hurt themselves a lot before. If you'd broken bones previously, those parts hurt the most. It was like a reminder of all your past pain. (I wrote about this at the time here.)
Trauma works that way, too. Sometimes when you see people in the news because of some enormous crisis, that's not the first time they are going through difficulties. I think about that when I read about Afghanistan's current woes; those people have already been through a lot, both in history and in living memory. And the same is true here in Haiti.
I was talking to a long-time friend the other day and she commented, "You don't get to be our age without having some pain," and boy, is that true. (But we're also both blessed enough to have experienced many joyful moments, too. I'm not sure that's true of everyone.)
Then I read that my friend Emily Dickinson said this about it all:
They say that "time assuages," -
Time never did assuage;
An actual suffering strengthens,
As sinews do, with age.
Time is a test of trouble,
But not a remedy.
If such it prove, it prove too
There was no malady.
I guess my point is just that we need to be careful with each other, because we're all going through a lot these days. Sometimes a small thing will set someone (adult or kid) off, and you may not see all that led to that moment. It's worth responding with grace anyway.
And also, for those people far away from us who are in crisis, we can help make things a little easier. In my Poetry Friday post last week, I suggested some places you might like to donate if you're interested in helping with earthquake relief in Haiti.
Today's roundup is here.