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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Remembering Haiti on Ash Wednesday

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9, 2011



Today is Ash Wednesday, a reminder for some that life is short...and precious...and unpredictable. This picture of sunrise over the small town of Mellier in the Western Department of Haiti was taken at a pensive moment during my recent church work trip. On that morning, I was thankful to not be working, thankful to not be moving fast like I always do and not talking so much and to just stand still in the beauty of the moment. I remember not wanting to leave that place, to leave that moment in time. The fields and mountains felt so peaceful, the neighbors tending crops so friendly, the air soft and forgiving. Yet, I knew that it could not last forever.



A few days later, back in Port-au-Prince, a small 4.1 scale earthquake shook the earth once again and perhaps woke everyone out of any small sense of normalcy that has slowly grown. Me personally, I didn't even feel it. Yet, everyone could feel the worry, and then the sad memories seeping back into the social fabric. Perhaps nothing was physically broken in Port-au-Prince that day, but it reminded all of us that each day is unpredictable. We have a choice to either fear the uncertainty, or to embrace the possibilities...to hold on to the pain and anger, or to let go of all that holds us back.

My husband, Mark, and I are hoping to join our church this Lenten season in what they are calling a "money fast"...only making purchases for the week at one time and not spending anything that isn't absolutely necessary. (So, no chai lattes, unless I make them myself.) It seems like a very small exercise towards letting go of that which we don't really need, and embracing something healthier. So, I think I will hold onto this sunrise picture of Mellier during Lent, in order to help me to keep my perspective. I can reflect back on that morning and remember that the most precious moments in life are usually free.