Wednesday, 20 January 2010

All the Prayers

So many people have said to me, "Oh, I'm so SICK of hearing about the Haiti earthquake!"

Why do people feel this way? I don't understand. I feel the opposite - I need to know what happened, where it's at now, what is being done. Usually when something like this happens, people spring into action with rescue services, army jeeps, help from everywhere.

This doesn't seem to have happened. I wondered if any trapped people were still alive as I sat at the hairdressers the other day. I drove around my town, sun shining, surplus food, happy days ... wondering what will become of all the people with broken, infected limbs. Orphaned children walking around - the prisoners escaped from the prison. A melting pot of hopelessness.

Haiti is a world away from Australia. I failed geography at school, and didn't even know it was a frickin' island until this week. What can I do? Nothing.

Dave is going through a particularly hard time lately, I bought him some prayer flags. We decided to put them up to pray for all of our troubles lately, our stress and uncertainty.

I put the prayer flags up - but not for us. There is nothing godamn wrong with us. We are the whitest of white westerners, living in a 1st world country. We actually never have anything to complain about for as long as we live, ever.

This is why I couldn't write here - anywhere, for a while. Everything seems trite and inconsequential.

So I put the prayer flags up, but not for us. For Haiti. Max looked at them fluttering and said, but what language is that? I can't even read it.

I said mate, God can read them, and every single prayer on every single flag is for the poor broken people and children in Haiti. All of them. I pray that God knows every hair on their heads.

I believe in an afterlife where you forget all of your past pain. I hope it's true. I was watching an Australian news correspondent, live on air the other day. They heard a baby crying in the rubble, his translater started to help get the baby out, wedging himself in the dangerous rubble for over half an hour. They pulled her out, alive. Her name is Winnie, almost the exact age as Rocco. I imagined Rocco lying under rubble with his family dead around him, for three days and nights.

Rocco went up to the TV and said, "bubba!" In years to come, they will probably track Winnie down, see what happened in her life. The same age as Rocco. I'll always pray for her.

Max sat and watched me put the flags up, bored. He was waiting for me to play cricket with him. (Because I'm so sporty HAH!)

I gave thanks that he gets to sit there bored, in the sun, not a care in the world.


  1. I had to stop imagining my family in that same situation. I just can't. It hurt my soul. I decided instead to pray for them. I also prayed for myself and my family that we will never have to suffer through it. I don't think it's selfish I think if the shoe was on the other foot they would do the same.

    So tonight I pray.

  2. WHen a very bad thing happens in a place ill-equipped, it gets ugly.

    But people get 'disaster fatigue' pretty quickly. We're insensitive bastards.


  3. It is all relative isn't it. Sometimes we think we have nothing or are struggling but we don't know.
    I'm glad you have your flags.

  4. i love the flags. it's difficult to know what to do. but you are remembering them with the flags. lovely sentiment.

  5. I couldn't have said it any better. I feel embarassed with the riches of our life.

    I saw a baby my son's age pulled out, his tiny toes had gangrene and they were about to amputate part of his leg to save his life. I just screamed out in grief and then made another donation to Médecins Sans Frontières. It's something but feels so inadequate.

  6. People have sprung into action, but the facilities there for bringing the rescue services from elsewhere are inadequate. Money is flowing, children from an orphanage have been flown to the US (probably thanks to the internet), food drops are happening.

    I think your prayer flags are wonderful - and would be much appreciated. You say you can't do anything, but I think you're wrong. You're doing a lot - raising your children to be compassionate, leading by example, and caring for those around you.

  7. I've been sponsoring a 9 year old girl in Haiti the past year, and I've been wondering this past week whether she is alive or not.

    I've decided to donate to the Red Cross every month for the next year, but it seems so very small.

    Oy, I hope some passing stranger would dig my baby out of the rubble if I was not there to protect him.

  8. Well said.

    And Eden, not only are you an amazing writer, you take some awesome photos!

  9. It's just horrible, but you did an amazing job capturing our feelings. So devastating and hard to watch yet you feel guilty that you can change the channel and not have to deal with the trauma. It all just boggles my mind.

  10. When I wake up in the middle of the night, in a sweat over the image of that toddler covered in dust and stunned, my thoughts moving towards those who didn't make it...I can only take comfort that they are no longer suffering in poverty, hunger, orphaned or enslaved. I hope I always "feel" that. It's better than the alternative.

  11. mhy flags are up too. Praying for Haiti


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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