Yes. Give to help Haiti. Go ahead, send your money. Write your senators and congressmen, too–remind them that the US has a responsibility to head up the relief efforts. And while you are at it, why not tell Pat Robertson, et als to shut their mouths. After all they are giving The Church a bad name. Oh yeah, do not for get to mention the poor people of Haiti during your Sunday morning prayers. And, be sure to feel really good about yourself because you are doing so much! (NOTE: sarcasm is difficult to do on-line but sometimes it works).
Seriously, if you really want to try to wrap your head around what is so devastating about Haiti read these posts 1 2 3 by Julie Clawson, or this one, or this one. We are right to send aid to Haiti–we the US government, we The Church, we individual people. However, if Haiti is going to do more than survive we need to do more than send temporary aid to ease our collective conscience. We need to become personally involved.
I get that we can not all drop what we are doing and book a trip to Haiti in order to physically help. BUT we can increase our awareness as to how our life styles, our self interests, our greed contributes to the poverty of the rest of the world. A friend on Facebook just posted this link to the Global Rich List. I plugged a number into the formula that was just slightly more that our household income last year and discovered we are among the top 3.17 percent of the wealthiest people in the world. More than 96 percent are poorer than I am! I do not know about you, but that rocks me.
By changing our life styles, by consuming less, and wasting less, and giving more we can impact the world in positive, healthful ways. And I am not just talking about giving more money. As important as that can be, giving our time and energy and focus is even more important. We need to educate one another about the problems, not just for Haiti but for the rest of the world as well. We need to expose the causes and concentrate our resources toward creating lasting solutions. In this age of a global economy, individual people can become a positive impact on global issues.
Still, if we focus all our attention beyond our borders we miss an opportunity to make a significantly greater impact. And that impact is what I actually want to talk about. Let’s face it, if we bothered to try we could probably find a link of connection to every single person on this planet so why not begin with those in our own communities. While building relationships with individuals rather than organizations is certainly time-consuming, the return on our investment is personal. The joy of seeing the eyes of Christ in the face of a new friend is an indescribable feeling. By the way, so is the anguish of watching a friend suffer.
I can not make the world care. But I can care about the world by telling one person at a time that he matters, that she has something to contribute, that we can be friends, that together we can make a difference right here and right now. It cannot only be about “them” over there; it needs to be about us, all of us, right here.
I understand that Haiti needs help. But if Haiti is really going to get help what the people of Haiti need is relationship, relationship for the long haul. And, not relationship that makes them dependent on the kindness of others while the others rip them off, but relationship that treats them as equals.