I’m not sure if many people have noticed, but I’ve been AWOL from the blog for some time now, with the exception of putting together our interview series. Yes, there continue to be tough times at the Howard-Fusco household. Our son, Julian, recently got a long-suspected-and-fought-for diagnosis that, while it will allow him to be healthy and live a productive life, will continue to present a large challenge and a full-time job of management for John and I. Unemployment continues to cause worry and some frustration; and a nasty stomach virus smacked me and Lizzie around mercilessly, and continues to run me down this week. BUT…I am full of gratitude this morning.
Unlike so many in the world right now, my children are well-fed, clothed, and living in a safe house in a safe neighborhood. Today I logged on and saw, yet again, more images of tragedy and want from Haiti. The situation continues to break my heart, and it’s hard not to turn away- after all, it’s so overwhelming and hopeless, right? OK, I know Haiti has been talked about to death, but I want to pass on something positive- yes, positive– about this whole damn mess. The first is something I recently heard from a friend of mine. Her aunt was active throughout her whole life in helping and aiding the people of Haiti, long before this latest tragedy. She passed away last year, but my friend sees the earthquake in this way: the world has been deaf to Haiti’s plight for so long, maybe this major disaster was the only thing that would bring real attention, and, therefore, real change to this country. The current rescue efforts are only a continuation of the work she began.
The second is a short story I heard once. A mother was on the beach with her small son, who was watching some newly hatched baby crabs struggling to get to the ocean. One by one, so many of them were picked off by the hovering seagulls. The little boy carefully picked up one crab, walked over to the ocean, and dropped it safely into the waves. The mother said to the boy, “Honey, why did you do that? There are so many, you can’t save them all. What difference does it make?” And her son replied, “It made a big difference to him.”
So this morning, armed with those thoughts, I searched my pantry and found a few extra, desperately needed items that I’ve been holding on to, things I bought on sale in order to save money: an extra bag of sugar, a bottle of cooking oil, a bag of lentils, a fistful of wrapped medical items from our travel first aid kit (after all, we’re not traveling much these days). And when I was tempted to hold on to them (after all, we’re struggling, right? What if we need this…or that?…), I thought about why. Money is tight, but I do have the power to go out and get more. So why am I hording this stuff? The answer is fear. And fear sucks. Fear keep us frozen. Fear keeps us thinking nothing can be done, nothing will ever change. And fear keeps help from reaching places like Haiti.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and think, “why bother?” But I challenge everyone who reads this blog today to stop for 5 minutes, wherever you are, really consider your circumstances, and grab 5 things from your pantry or medicine cabinet and bring them to some sort of drop off center: for Haiti, for a local food bank, whatever. And when you do- post a comment here that you’ve done it. Maybe we can see what adds up, with only a little effort.