Running a marathon will teach you a lot of things. One of the most beneficial, at least for me, was self-determination. I will never forget when in mile 17 I was offered a shot of gel energy. While I had been warned to never try anything new during a race, my impulsive personality took over and I thought a little extra energy couldn’t hurt. I was wrong. First of all, it was as disgusting as it sounds and second of all I threw it up within half a mile.
Clearly I was tired and now I was sick, so I had little desire to continue. However, at that moment I read the guy’s shirt in front of me. There was a picture of a little girl and under it, “Clara has leukemia. As long as she keeps struggling, I’ll keep running.”
Long story short, that put my current situation in perspective and I finished.
And every once in a while I remember that shirt.
Tonight is one of those times.
Haiti was hit with the most devastating earthquake in its history a week ago. Tens and tens of thousands of people have died and those that are left behind are left with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Since that happened, I have been working between 12-16 hours a day in disaster response. I am tired and heartbroken, but my current situation is not even comparable to the struggle those on the ground in Haiti are faced with.
I eventually will go to sleep tonight and it will be in a giant, soft bed. Hundreds of thousands of people in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area are sleeping outside on the ground right now. As long as my friend can walk through streets literally lined with the dead bodies of his neighbors and hold it together, my heart can hold on. As long as my boss can be away from her 6-week-old daughter to coordinate efforts in Haiti, I can make it.
As long as Haiti keeps struggling, I will keep working.
If you’re like me, you have a lot of questions right now. Why do our brothers and sisters in Haiti have to endure yet another tragedy? How are they ever going to get ahead when hurricanes and earthquakes won’t even let them catch up. I have no answers.
All I know is that we now have the opportunity to do what we might have only thought about before. We can commit to walking alongside Haiti until they are known for their prosperity instead of their poverty. We can commit to working as if those children who spend their days walking for water instead of attending school are our own.
This earthquake has brought unimaginable destruction. Decide today that it will also bring indescribable hope. Alone we cannot do much, but together we can change a people’s future.