I came to a realization this morning. Well...it's been building for a few weeks now. I have a much more heightened sense of my responsibility to respond when a neighbor is in danger or needs help here.
Last night I got an email from an aquaintence I had met back in Chicago. We met around Haiti stuff. She works with the Lutheran church out in Jeremie. I work with the Lutheran church in Port Au Prince. We really didn't have much in common in our work in Haiti, except for the fact that it was in Haiti. Somehow I ended up on her email list.
She was saying that there was some significant damage out in Jeremie revolving around the people they work with there. I immediately emailed her, and any other contact that might know the pastor there, to see if I needed to help out, bring supplies, do anything since I am living here in Port Au Prince. Now I wait to hear back.
I was thinking about it as I sent out more emails this morning. I am so quick to respond to my neighbor's needs here. Death, Cholera, Hurricane... Why am I quicker to respond here? Maybe it's because I'm less distrated by MY life here. And I have a bit of the sense of, "If I don't do it, who will?"
I guess I'm hoping that this desire and need to respond to my neighbor's needs would be something that follows me every day. How great would our communities be in the United States, or in our churches, if we were quick to respond to our neighbor's needs. It's not that I think that this doesn't happen in the life I knew before Haiti. I remember last year when my grandparents fell sick and passed away my parents' community of friends and church gathered around them in a wonderful way. I watched the kids I worked with in each of my congregations love homeless people in shelters or soup kitchens. I watched my brother's desire to respond to the needs of his community after a tornado. It happens...a lot. Maybe it's just easier to see the need here in Haiti. Maybe the needs are more Front Page here and less easy to ignore or be distracted from.
At any rate...I hope that when I'm not in Haiti my eyes will be just as focused on the people around me and how I can be a part of responding to their needs. Maybe today we can all spend a little more time getting to know the people in our community and how we can best serve them.