Citizens of The World

I don’t really watch the news anymore. I know I should be updated on current events, but between work and running a household, by the time ten p.m. rolls around, I’m too tired to focus. I get the majority of my news from the radio on my drive in to work, or occasionally reading a news magazine on the weekend. So, when Haiti was hit by an earthquake on January 12th, it was no more than a news snippet to me. Perhaps there’s so much global tragedy that over time I’ve become a little desensitized to it.

I’m friends on Facebook with a full time counselor and pastor that I know. He asked his Facebook friends for donations to send an E.R. doc down to Haiti to help in the aftermath of the earthquake. In return, he would post daily updates on the funds received and how they were being used. I’m going to be honest here, I ignored that request for a few days. It was a good idea in theory, but did my donation or lack of it really matter in the long run? Didn’t one of the news snippets I heard on the radio mention that the country was turning help away because they couldn’t even get the aid planes to land? This is how I rationalized my lack of immediate response.

And then, the Facebook updates started to talk about the 300 patients this one doctor was in charge of, and how many surgeries were done without anesthesia because there wasn’t enough for everyone and life altering decisions had to be made. The doctor said there were bodies piled up higher than he was tall. He witnessed a teenager executed in the airport as he was landing. He mentioned that not only did he need physical strength, but emotional stamina as well just to endure the horrors and try to help those he could. Suddenly, I was no longer desensitized.

I sent a donation. It might not save a life – that small donation by itself, but together with donations from twenty or a hundred or a thousand other people, it will make a difference. Someone will live that might not have been able to otherwise. Someone will have shelter or food or just hope in the midst of despair. That’s worth my time. That’s worth staying up past ten p.m. so I can watch and learn a little more and make better decisions tomorrow. My corner of the world is made up of my children and work and my friends. But I’m also a citizen of the world, and I need to maintain that perspective and respond in kind when there’s a need.

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