Thursday, January 14, 2010

Listen to Your Heart!

I’m struggling to wrap my mind around the magnitude of the Haitian earthquake disaster! Sadly our focus on the enormity of the disaster can tend to obfuscate the details of the individual stories. This in turn can tend to make us more analytical and less compassionate in our response to the immediate needs. Stentorian voices call out for your heart and your money from every quarter at times like this. What to do? Where do I give? Where will my help be best utilized? While you’re analytical mind is wrestling with these questions and more, thousands of people are dying needlessly. Haiti needs our help, and they need it now!

We’ve heard inhumane stories of the untold horror coming out of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian Capital, and some of them have suggested that the death toll may be in the hundred’s of thousands. That is a gargantuan number under any circumstances, but even more so in a nation ravished by poverty and one that has a population of only nine million people. Our initial response to such reports may be to analyze the enormity of the disaster and rationalize that there’s little difference our tiny contribution would make so we’ll just commit to praying for the people of Haiti and let the Red Cross and other such agencies do the work of restoring broken lives. I categorically declare that that is not true, and so we need to do more than pray!

There may be a little child wondering the rubble-filled streets in bewilderment and fear looking for his or her parents right now, that hasn’t eaten since the earthquake struck. There may be a baby that was ripped from its mother’s breast as it suckled, who’s now lying under a pile of rubble beside its dead mother, too weak to cry anymore. Whatever you may have thought before, you need to know that your help will make a difference in the myriad stories that will make up the texture of this colossal disaster, so you need to do more than just pray. Researchers have theorized that focusing on the statistics and magnitude of such disasters can tend to short-circuit a response borne out of compassion, by shifting people into an analytical mindset. When people think analytically it can hinder their ability to act compassionately as the head gets in the way of the heart. I love how in Primal, Mark Batterson says, “Logical objections get in the way of compassionate actions.”

If you live in the Orlando area, there are numerous places where your compassionate assistance will be greatly appreciated. You can help package supplies that are being airlifted to Haiti, you can give food or clothing, and you can give money. My family and I along with a few of our friends are doing all of the above at a place called Harvest Time International. They could use your help in all the areas I mentioned above, so if you’re so inclined, contact them (just click on the hyperlink) and find out when you can go in and help, or just drop by anytime on Saturday and we’ll see you there. Remember that you're the lambent radiance in the midst of this terrible darknesss. Thanks for responding with your heart and not your head!


Thea said...

It's amazing to me that analysis can supercede compassion and action in the midst of such devastation. I could not help but look at my family yesterday knowing it could have been us, our friends, our city...I cannot imagine being trapped and hoping, praying, wishing that people would come and find me first and deal with stats later. So many lives depend on it. Also, not sure how this works but I did hear UPS is shipping anything to Haiti for free today?? Unconfirmed but could be a blessing to anyone trying to send things to an organization or relief effort there.

Patrick Voo said...

papa bear joseph,

you continue to inspire me - with how your heart can read the conditions and the times, and the heroic courage with which you and your family act.

lead on, my brother.