Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Mere Inconvenience

I sit in semi-darkness, the haunting wail of the relentless wind serenading me, periodically interrupted by the steady rat-a-tat-tat of raindrops pouring down from the heavens and belting my skylight.

The lights had been flickering, winking on and off, and then vanished completely, taken away on the angry wind, along with the rest of my electrical power, dissipating like the last hapless breaths of a terminal patient.

The house is without power, eerily quiet sans the constant thrum of the refrigerator, the whir of a fan, the comforting purr of the heater rumbling into life. A severe winter storm, packed with copious amounts of cold rain and wind gusts approaching seventy miles per hour, has left my little corner of the world trapped inside its own little emergency. A mere inconvenience, really, when compared with what is happening in other areas of the world:

* War in Afghanistan
* Terrorism and unrest in Iraq
* Poverty, starvation and genocide in many African Nations
* And, most recently, the massive earthquake that devastated Haiti

Most of us are very lucky, we will survive the odd blackout with maybe only a handful of angst: some spoiled food from a warming fridge; a sniffle or two from sleeping without heat; a missed day’s wage; a few hours without television or video games.

But to call losing your power for a few hours, or days, an emergency, a catastrophe, or anything more than a mere inconvenience, when placed next to the hardship those sad souls in Haiti went through, are going through, and will continue to go through is, is tantamount to comparing a mosquito bite to open heart surgery; there is no comparison.

By candlelight, I write this, with the hope that eventually the power will be restored and I can transfer my handwritten words onto my computer, and then post them to my blog (which, if you are reading this, I have). Yes, the power will eventually return, as will normal life as we know it. But what about those Haitians? Or those countless suffering human beings who live in those other war torn and impoverished nations? When will their lives return to “normal”? And, more to the point, what can we do to help them?

Give. Of yourself. Of your heart. Of your soul. And, especially, of your wallet. One dollar or one thousand, give whatever you can afford…and then give a little bit more. Give to the people of the island nation of Haiti, yes, but give to any human being who will go hungry one day (including many right here in America) or who is suffering.

And when you’ve given as much money as you can, then give something else: give your positive energy, your prayers, your goodwill, your love, and if you are able to, your time. I am a firm believer that giving from your heart and soul is as valuable as giving from your wallet. But give both.


This post was inspired by a tragic front page event, but the need to help others less fortunate than most of us is always there.

One of the things that constantly amazes me about people is how, more often than not, they rise above expectations, especially in the worst of times. It happened when the towers went down on that horrible September day in 2001, and it is happening now in the aftermath of that 7.0 earthquake in Haiti. People rise to the occasion, go above and beyond, often enduring difficult sacrifices, to help those who cannot help themselves. But these amazing acts of decency are topped by the countless acts of courage and patience and perseverance exhibited by those struck by the very same tragic events others go out of their way to help combat.

The following is a list of foundations where you can contribute to help the poor souls of Haiti and other devastated areas around the world:

World Vision
Red Cross
Hope For Haiti

Remember: Give, of your heart, your soul, and your wallet. And then give some more.

Until next time…




Bagman and Butler said...

Thank you for putting it all in perspective.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

It's so true, our big problems are really just inconveniences when compared to what others are going through. You can always find someone worse off than you if you take time to look around at others. I gave through the American Red Cross online--very simple to do.

Kiesha @ Highly Favored said...

I try to tell my kids things like this all the time, they just look at me looks it's another one of "those stories" the kind begin with "back in my day...walked 3 miles to school...uphill". It's sad that we've been kept at such a level of comfort that we are totally oblivious to the fact that man many others around us are in fact, suffering.

Carol King said...

I live in the Caribbean so the devastation in Haiti is up close and personal. I have to admit to feeling suprise but much love and respect, at the immediate response of so many people from so many countries around the world. Seeing this reminds me that along with great tradegy there is also great love in this world.

Jennifer said...

I've been thinking a lot about this. Thank you.

Rod said...

I've had to be mindful of how much of the news coverage I can watch about this. Its just too depressing. My church collected donations and said prayers, the situation in Haiti is just beyond belief.

Susan Blake said...

Hi Mike! I sure wish more folks would adopt your attitude - esp. the media - who keep throwing those words like catastrophe around until you almost get numb from it! While I'm sorry for any "inconveniences" you had, and many have daily, life goes on. It raises prickles on me just to hear someone say that they had a bad day. No DAY is bad, it's your attitude!

We have donated thru several outlets - even Whole Foods was collecting. I so wish I could go and cook food, and hold those babies! I helped locally (probably 20 yrs ago) when a tornado destroyed homes - I hauled lumber (yeah, younger then!) and also worked in the soup kitchens. I've seen devastation but this was NOTHING compared to Haiti. You're so right, HAITI is the catastrophe! They will need help re-building for a LONG time so I'm keeping that in mind for the future. I can still swing a hammer!

Robin Easton said...

Dear Beautiful Mike, you just moved me to tears. This is sooooooooo powerful and heartfelt. I love this aspect of you and how wise and down to earth you are.

You are a truly good good soul. Thank you for caring deeply and inspiring others to do the same.

Peace and hugs to you dear soul.

Unknown said...

bagman: thank you for commenting

karen: while we do have our problems, they seem small by comparison

kiesha: true, kids today need more exemplars to show them the right way

carol: yes, oft times the worst brings out the best in us

jennifer: i look forward to your written words on this...

rod: i avoid televised news as much as possible, they tend to overwork a story

suzen: your amazing words, energy, and actions put me to inspire me...thanks

robin: i strive to be as complete a soul as you, robin...



kRiZcPEc said...

Thanks for another great post, hope the Haitians get your positive energy. :)

Barry said...

Brilliantly said Mike. I couldn't agree more.

Unknown said...

kriz: positive energy spreads good stuff all over...thanks for the visit

barry: thanks, hope all is well...i will send a little of that positive energy your way...



BK said...

Mike, thank you for putting things into perspective. It reminds me of a story of someone complaining he has no shoes, until he saw a man without legs.

Sagan said...

We definitely need to look at things in perspective more often. We have it REALLY good!

Steve Borgman said...

Mike, this was beautifully said. We here in America cannot begin to fathom the devastation. Although there are American citizens who live in poverty and who have lived through their own private hell: New Orleans flooding, other disaster areas around the country.

Unknown said...

bk: so right, we have to focus on the good and not the not so good...

sagan: better than most...

steve: right here in our country millions suffer daily...

please give to those less fortunate and spread the good word and vibes daily...



Faisal Admar said...

this is a very sad tragedy. i hope everything will be back to normal even though it will take long time.

i've done my part. hope everybody does their part too, doesn't matter big or small.

the thought counts.

redkathy said...

Beautifully arranged post Mike. You have so truthfully written the real and, in my opinion, the proper perspective!