Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Let me always be this young

“We are too young to realize that certain things are impossible... So we will do them anyway.” ― William Wilberforce

I was the last person to leave a new newsroom this week. It's a bigger one, more prestigious and with a coffee pot, no dress code and a gym just down the hall.

I got in my car and drove home to find my dream litter of German shepherd puppies lounging in the kitchen.

Three weeks ago I was in Kentucky surrounded by the love of my peeps.  

Ten days ago I was on an international reporting assignment in Dessalines.

Six days ago I was swimming in the Caribbean in Haiti.

Four days ago I was sunbathing in Florida and playing in the rain with my darling friend.

It's in the small moments that I'm impacted most by the blessings in my life. When my heels are click-clacking down a hallway that two months ago I couldn't have planned to be in, or when I'm dripping in the Haitian sun raising my camera to capture intimate moments, or when I'm sitting in the middle of a pile of 8 puppies, or reclining on a beach with one of my dearest friends, or singing happy birthday to my 3-year-old's in these moments that my breath is taken away by the whisper in the breezes: "Enjoy this moment, for this moment is your life."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

As written from Le Xaragua in Haiti

It's April 13, 2013 at 10:44 p.m. 

We ate dinner on the veranda outside tonight - the sea lapping behind us. I walked down to the railing to take pictures and just look and talk to my soul. 

I watched the waves (for about 5.5 minutes) and went to walk away.

"Why don't you be still awhile longer?"

I've been in such a hurry lately and I keep saying, "Such-and-such feels surreal." But now I feel a little bit numb and I need the surreal feeling to pass. I need to live in this moment.

So while I was watching the sea and listening to the waves, I tried to see myself as other people say they see me. I'm on the Caribbean Sea in Haiti, on a reporting assignment, living my mission and making connections."

There's power in being still. It's a courageous act, to press your fingertips against Earth's dizzying orbit and will your spirit to absorb all the goodness, the heartbreak, the triumph, or the stillness in each moment. 

I didn't get a chance to ready myself for Haiti. Sure, I had everything packed. Shampoo, conditioner, my traveling pharmacy, clothes, notebook, cameras....but my mind and spirit weren't ready. Parts of me were still in Kentucky, where I'd been three days before leaving for Haiti. Pieces of me were grieving my friend's death, and still others were memorializing tragedy, and all the while I was running down my mental to-do list. 

"Why don't you be still awhile longer?"

I allowed myself to breath in the ocean air, to let the waves take away my anxiety, my striving, my grief, my turmoil. I just stood there.

I just stood in the doorway of a room where a 34-year-old-man is dying of mastesized cancer in his shoulder. 

I just stood on a stairway photographing a team of missionaries praying for an old woman with a badly broken leg who is surely dying in the home of a generous stranger.

I just stood in a school built by a pastor and his wife in a Haitian "ghetto" after they observed that the children they were feeding were not getting an education. 

I just stood in a hospital courtyard while Death came knocking and claimed the life of a 13-year-old boy.

I just stood in orphanages and absorbed the love radiating from the children who hugged and laughed with the team.

And while I stood and raised my camera or poised my pen, my mantra swirled around me:

Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.

It's a courageous act, but if we're not willing to see, to hear, to touch, and to allow our souls to break with the hurting, the dying, the impoverished, will change ever come?

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.” - William Wilberforce