I haven't updated in a while.
I always seem to start out these entries this way lately. But so it goes sometimes.
Anyway, I have been back in Haiti now for one week. I went home and visited my family for 3 wonderful, refreshing weeks and now I am back.
It's good to be back.
As soon as I arrived I was greeted with hugs and to-do lists. I am a part of the fabric now. A little Beth thread woven in to so many stories and situations and families. When I was in Kansas City, I kept on finding myself referring to Haiti as "home." As in, "I go home on Jan. 2." I caught myself every time and attempted to correct myself, but truly... Haiti has become home in so many ways. It was wonderful to be reunited with my Haitian family again.
Tomorrow marks an important anniversary for Haiti. One that is bound to be extremely emotional.
I'm not quite sure how I am going to handle it. You see, I had never been to Haiti before the earthquake. I never met a single one of the lives lost. Although my heart was distraught watching the images on my TV last Jan. 12, there was no real connection. Just a longing to heal and to love on this tiny, hurting nation.
But now I have become entrenched in the Haitian world.
I can imagine that tomorrow I will be grieving. I will be grieving for my Haitian brothers and sisters whose lives were cut short, whose families will never be able to hug them again. I will particularly be grieving for the friends and family of my Haitian friends who won't ever attend another family dinner, or call them up on the phone just to say, "Hey."
After living here for 7 months now (I know! Time flies!) I cannot imagine that tomorrow will be easy. But I also cannot imagine, even still, what tomorrow will feel like for my Haitian brothers and sisters. They've experienced... just... too much to even fully comprehend, let alone understand what their emotions might be on the anniversary of one of, if not THE, most horrific day of their lives.
Although it's not been announced as an official holiday, it essentially is. Businesses will be closed, schools will be closed, and churches will be holding services all day to honor the dead and to come together for worship, mourning, and friendship.
We will be attending a memorial service at 6:30 a.m. outside the palace. It will be a multi-denominational service with even some of our own speaking at it - most notably, Jim Gulley, the "miracle man" who survived the earthquake spending many days stuck in the collapsed Hotel Montana.
After the service, a few of us will be going to the grounds of the Hotel Montana to mourn the lives of those lost there - particularly the lives of Clinton Raab and Sam Dixon. We will also be there to remember that there is hope and to remind ourselves of our commitment to continue to be a healing presence in Haiti. It's important, worthy work... even if the costs are sometimes quite steep. It's going to be a beautiful service.
Please, if you would, pray for the Haitians that will be experiencing great fear and great grief tomorrow. Please also consider a monetary donation to UMCOR, UMVIM, or Week of Compassion so that these worthy organizations can continue to respond to this great, devastating disaster. There is still so much to do.
Blessings to each of you as you find your own small ways to remember Jan. 12, 2010 in your hearts. Thank you for your constant love and support. I feel it surround me every day.