What do we do with the news from Haiti? I’ve stopped looking at headlines and turned off the radio: simply too much, too abstract, too wrong. Let me stay raw and awake; feel agony first-hand, be viscerally reminded of what it means to be hungry, traumatized, and in pain. Compassion, from the Latin, to suffer together with. May all find hope and comfort.
There some things each of us can do right where we live. There surely is someone nearby who longs for a word or gesture of comfort: someone sick, alone, in need. A friend, a relative, or a complete stranger. Extending beyond the confines of our private shell, we can transform silent prayer into compassionate action.
Because of their anonymity, monetary donations may be easier to make. The Red Cross and Doctors without Borders are high on my list. Here in Canada, the Government has pledged to match individual donations to the tune of $50 million. If you’re at work or member of any group, pass the hat and collect today. There’s no us here and them there.
image: A 1930s photograph of a desert traveler praying to God the Merciful, the Compassionate.