In times past, it may take hours, days, and even weeks to spread the tragedy wrought by the recent earthquake in Nepal. Thankful but contrastingly tragic, we have the opportunity to both sympathise with our fellows affected as well as act with the same expediency with which information has reached us.
Focusing on its boon than its bane, we have this power now, you see, to make a direct impact to the lives of people who are both suffering with grief as well as those who risk their lives to contribute themselves to causes that deprives them of hope beyond that which is within them.
I remember when I used to interview volunteers and staffs for an international humanitarian institution, for places stricken with disasters or violence, I always make sure to ask, “Why do you want to do this?”
You hear all sorts of answers, from extremely noble and honourable to those which seems humorous, given the circumstances. One answer is always present, though. “Because it makes me feel good.”
I always reply and ask back, with practicality and humility, “What if it doesn’t make you feel good? Or if it eventually makes you feel miserable? Or it eats you from the inside with the relentless grief and stress and sadness and tragedy.
“Please think about this. Our work is meaningful but it will hurt you and drain your soul. You will fight for hope everyday. You will fight for faith in humanity every minute while you see both silent and sincere goodwill alongside mischievous and deceitful self-interests. You will some times be asked to be a light when you have lost all belief that you can make a difference anymore.
“Remember, with all you see and realise and live with, you will be able to walk away sooner or later. After all the media and attention is gone, the world moves forward. Most times, it moves forward, and just forgets. Show is over. But the people … yes, the people who are there and have no choice and are victims of tyranny, disaster, and of a history they did not choose, they cannot escape.
“They cannot just walk away.
We will still welcome your help and perhaps give you your feel-good moment while you help.
But they have suffered enough for us to drain them further of hope and joy.
Most times, we have to pour in ours, at our own expense.”
Beyond the monetary help and aid, we need endurance in resolve to help and not do it simply to feel good. Spread the word. Give what you can give, even if it is just to give a damn. It always begins with awareness but endures with resolve and hope.
To our brothers and sisters during this difficult time, you may not be able to read this, you have had enough for now. We are with you in prayer, in thought, in action, and in hope.
An Essential Journey Back Into Light
Lights extinguished by tears and whimpers,
Sputtering flames become wicks of what could have been.
We search for light in this darkness,
Checking behind doors of truth and compassion,
Finding empty gateways, and paths towards the unknown.
Perhaps this light springs up from the fallen memories,
Sprinkled with salt on wounds never healed
And on hearts not yet mended.
The outrage, the pain, the beauty and innocence lost
Our community mourns, demands, seeks truth and light
Where to begin this search, this journey?
It is not in reason, but in grief and in prayer.
So some pray, some meditate, some question and wonder,
Some cry, some hide, some wish it was over.
But, if light be our essence,
Then the journey is not far.
We must search deep within
Sifting through sand and soot
For hope and wholeness.
There is light in this journey
Way off, to the left or right, or both
But it begins in darkness,
Faith promising a more clear journey ahead.
Lights will be rekindled one day,
Somehow a healed heart will emerge
Recalling pain but seeing new joy,
One day somehow it will be bright again.