But a Breath
A lot happens when you take in a breath. That breath is warm, it is full of the source of life, and in the fraction of time that it takes to take it you are granted just a little longer on this earth. And when that breath ceases, the silence that is left behind can be deafening and overwhelming.There is a Psalm from the Bible that says our life is but a breath. Against the timeline of earth the length of our lives can seem so short, so insignificant. But up close, each life is not only significant – each life is interconnected and interdependent. Within each rise and fall of the sun, that life has a circle within which it operates. There are events, moments, relationships, accomplishments, successes and failures that make that life worth living; that life matters because it was lived. It matters because we need each other.This past Tuesday, as each of us were moving about in our lives, the lives of millions of our friends were changed forever. For countless thousands, life stopped. With one breath everything was okay and with the next the world had literally crumbled around them. The giant earthquake that had been feared but forgotten about for years was now here and it was insatiable. In less than a minute the destruction was indescribable. Only the empty screams of the lost and wounded could paint the picture for what was left behind.But pictures can only tell so much. A picture cannot tell you about what was loved or what was lost. A picture cannot tell you about hopes, dreams, successes, or failures; nor can it tell you about the relationships that matter or what had been important to that person. A picture captures the space of time it would take to draw in a breath – even if it was your last one.My friends, whom I love deeply, now have many precious things under rubble that might never be moved: spouses, children, parents, friends, money, resources, shelter, and for many, a reason to live. It has all disappeared, never to be brought back as they were. This can’t be captured in a picture; it can’t be conveyed in a moment. It took an entire lifetime to accumulate and it was gone in one breath. How quickly we seem to take so much for granted when it is ours and how quickly our world can change and leave us in the shock of loss and pain. The reality seems more than any one person can handle, and no one should have to handle that much pain alone.My friend David, his wife, and his family of 60+ orphans are still unaccounted for. They are not just part of one of our projects. They are a part of our family. Over the years, we have watched and done our best to walk alongside of them in the struggle for survival and now we wait and pray to hear word that they are safe. David’s wife just had a baby two weeks ago. In a safe and just world, she should be resting and bonding with her new child, not fighting for survival and feeling the burden of orphaned and terrified children. Our translators from Hero Holiday live in the area that was struck and we are still waiting to hear word from them. Like millions of people all over the world, those of us in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) have loved ones in a tiny Caribbean island that we are anxiously hoping and praying for, and a small group of helpers have been sent out on our behalf to add their hands, their voice and their compassion.Sadly, Haiti has known and endured decades of pain and heartache. But the destruction they now sit in is indescribable. Not only do the days ahead hold suffering, pain, loss, hunger and disease, but it also holds incredible fear for those who will be left without family or protection. Without intervention and help, slavery, exploitation, hunger and disease will skyrocket. Please don’t be silent. One of our staff members made a declaration this week that is ringing in my heart and causing a trail of tears to continually fall: I may be Canadian, but today I am Haitian.LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) will be posting updates at www.livedifferent.com on what we are doing and how you can help. Our voices and lives make a difference when we choose to use them.