Monday, January 18, 2010

All I Can Give

I was going to write about running today. I was going to post about my weekend, which consisted of an overnight away, a marathon relay with friends, and a soggy Sunday. I’ll still do that…tomorrow.

But today, I think I need to write about something I don’t want to write about, because it’s something I don’t want to think about.


And the way hell or circumstance or chance or whatever you want to call it just keeps on reaching up and ensnaring people--whole nations of people who are already down--and dragging them further down, and I don’t understand why or why them or why not me, or any of those questions for which we will never have answers.

And I want to be able to do something. We all do. But frankly, this is reason #2 I didn’t want to think about Haiti or write about Haiti: I feel as though I have nothing to give. Nothing substantial. I see the online community rising to the challenge with donations and auctions and I am heartened, but feel impotent. It’s been a hard year financially to say the least, and I cannot donate $1 or more (or even less) per comment or per subscription like so many other bloggers are doing this week. I can’t. And I can’t make crafty things to sell in Etsy shops and I don’t have any services to render at cost. My hands are empty. I’m sitting here typing at my not-high-end-but-certainly-functional dining room table in my not-huge-but-comfortable home in my not-luxury-by-American-standards-but-definitely-middle-class neighborhood and I’m safe and warm and fed and dry and wanting for nothing more than another cup of coffee, which is certainly attainable five feet from me in a Cuisinart coffee machine containing Starbucks ground roast.

And I’m powerless.

And this is just one more way in which the world is unbalanced and upside down. But what I really wish I could give to Haitians today is something I cannot donate: control over their own lives. My worst fear when it comes to my own children and family is that something will happen to them that I am powerless to stop. I’ve felt it in airplanes and in cars and on the other rare moments in which I have to relinquish control to someone or something else. It doesn’t happen often, because most of the time--nearly all of the time--I feel command over my family’s well-being. I feel able to protect them and care for them, and I know my husband feels able to clothe them and feed them.

And that feeling is something we take for granted. It‘s something that so many, many parents the world over do not experience on a daily basis. And I can‘t imagine being in Haiti today, wanting to care for my family and being unable. And this is reason #3 I didn’t want to think or write about Haiti today. It’s my worst nightmare, and I don’t wish it on anyone.

So I lack expendable income, but here’s the thing…here’s what I can do. I have readers, and I can offer them a tiny sliver of power. I can point you--any of you who can help--in the direction you need to go.

If you click on the Help Haiti Blog Challenge, you can scroll down to find many bloggers donating their products and/or money for each comment, tweet, etc this long weekend. This is a way in which we can all take part. For instance, Forty Days to Change will donate $2 per blog comment until tonight, Monday, at 11:59 EST.

Otherwise, think about where you hang out online…be it Facebook, LiveJournal, Blogger, etc. You can find relief auctions and fund raisers in each of these corners of the internet. Or you can go with the tried and true:

The Red Cross

Doctors without Borders

Partners in Health

Mission of Hope Haiti

This is what I have to give today: information. Maybe you have expendable income to donate, which is great. Maybe you don’t, in which case, I hope you’ll continue to pass on these links, whether through Facebook or Twitter or whatever platform you use, so that a little more power might be placed in the rest of the world‘s hands.

EDITED TO ADD: Another great resource I neglected to mention is here, at The Extraordinary Ordinary.
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