Sunday, January 24, 2010

Earthquakes, Part I

Strokes are known as the silent killers. Doctors can often see the predictors of a stroke: genetics and lifestyle, but we are still never sure when and where they will attack. And when they do they often leave their victims paralyzed. Incapacitated in some way—handicapped.

Earthquakes could also be known as silent killers. Scientists can often see the predictors of an earthquake: fault lines, unstable layers of the mantle beneath the earth’s crust and volcanic activity. To a certain degree they can predict where one might happen, but never with absolute accuracy. And when the earthquakes do happen they leave their victims paralyzed. Incapacitated in some way—handicapped.

For all our knowledge, advancements and predictions we did not see this silent killer coming when it did. Nor has our world’s technological advancements and sophistication immediately alleviated the suffering in Haiti.

The ground ruptured and broke open. Buildings shifted and collapsed. Roads were displaced. And people were/are caught, pinned and buried in the destruction. And the aftershocks cause panic and fear and chaos.

Silent killers.

We have all seen the photos on the internet or the television. We have been bombarded with images that capture the agony and misery and suffering of the Haitian people. We have heard the pleas of father not wanting the search to stop for his daughter—a daughter who was on a mission of service. She was there to feed the poor and take care of the needy. And now she is nowhere to be found. Her birthday was this week. She turned 20.

I have a twenty year old year old daughter.

One video followed a rescue team digging in the rubble, cement slabs collapsed at odd angles, to uncover a small child. The baby couldn’t have been more than fifteen or sixteen months old—dressed in a onesie and a diaper swelled from the six or seven days she had been under the debris. One of her rescue workers held her close and gave her water, doused her head, loved on her, and then handed her to a Haitian man next to him.

We have heard the nightmare tales from the make-shift surgery centers resorting to using vodka being used to sterilize the surgery tools, hacksaws to amputate limbs and giving only Motrin to alleviate the pain. And we are reminded of our own days during the Civil War.

Catastrophe often causes us to revert to primitive and horrifying ways.

Haiti will feel the devastation of this earthquake for years and years to come.

Haiti is severely wounded. She is hurting and suffering. And it breaks my heart. But my heart breaking is just simply not enough.

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