Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Heartbroken

The pastor said something last Sunday like, "Our hearts have broken this week as we've seen images from Haiti..."

So I began to check my heart.

To be sure I had experienced overwhelm as reports came in detailing the amount of devastation the 7.0 earthquake had caused.  Of course I felt horror when the number 50,000 was offered as an estimate of the dead in the small, poverty stricken island country.  And, yes, my heart stopped as I listened to radio stories of digging for survivors under tons of rubble, only to find the cries for help had stopped before help had arrived.

But if I was going to be honest, sitting in my comfortable, completely unruined chair in the suburbs of Austin last Sunday morning - there was no brokenness in my heart over Haiti.

People die in natural disasters. Heartbreak, for me, unfolds as political instability or bureaucratic bumbling or human ignorance gets in the way of efforts to relieve human suffering.  But that's not the story that was coming from Haiti last week.  It seemed, in fact, that humanity rallied for the people of Haiti.

Political ideologies were put aside for the higher calling to respond with common compassion.

Technology was used to its greatest good to ensure quick and efficient response to overwhelming need.

Heroes of the stage, screen, and sports arena stepped forward with open hearts, big checks, and inspiring messages to their fans.

My heart was actually soaring (once I got Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson out of my system).  I mean...wow!  See what we can do in the world in the name of love and compassion when we tune out the voices of those who want to be richest and strongest and smartest and best, and listen simply to our own hearts?

Here's what I discovered was breaking my heart as I sat in church last Sunday:    
And this:  

And photos like these:



And I couldn't help wondering...

What if Presidents Bush and Clinton were called into service on behalf of peace in Afghanistan? 

What if "PEACE" texted to 90999 sent letters to Congress urging lawmakers to re-think all war funding?

What if Sandra Bullock wrote a $1 million check to Ayni Education International to help build schools in Afghanistan?

So, yes, my heart is breaking.  We know how to love all people.  We have resources that - shared - would make the world a very kind and gentle place.  We could - I believe - create peace if we wanted to.

We proved it last week.

Seek peace.

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