“We’re not owners here; we’re just passing through.” In the outstanding Academy Award-winning film, Out of Africa, Denys Finch Hatton (played by the wonderfully photogenic Robert Redford) is dancing with Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) and laments to her that our possessions and our lives are fleeting. http://www.spike.com/video/out-of-africa-out-of/2324400
Imagine the despair and hopelessness felt by the tens of thousands of Haitians affected by the earthquake. Their lives were always difficult. Haiti is among the poorest nations in the world. Formal education is rare; illiteracy is the norm. But, this was their normal. The happiness experienced in the past, friends, family and day-to-day tasks will likely never be the same. While we are so very resilient as a species, lives in Haiti have been cut short; those who have survived may be suffering for an incredibly long time with illnesses, injuries that never heal properly and the loss of loved ones.
The 11 year-old girl who ws a miracle just the other day; pulled from the rubble in Port-au-Prince died. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/01/17/haiti.earthquake.girl.funeral/index.html?hpt=C1
Anna’s life was fleeting. She did not own her life; she was just passing through.
As our nation honors Martin Luther King, Junior with a day of service, we remember to help those in our communities. This week, Sustainable Cherry Hill (www.sustainablecherryhill.org) and the Center for Transformation in Camden are presenting “The Poet of Poverty.” The documentary profiles Father Michael Doyle, a long-time advocate of Camden, its people and what is good no matter where you live. The event also includes a panel discussion led by Father Doyle and other local community leaders. The event itself is a sell out, but the message is: take your passions, your knowledge, your strength to other communities that need your help. Rutgers-Camden is also planning an event the end of the month to inspire the campus community to help in its host community.
While an earthquake of the magnitude that struck Haiti is never like to strike in our region, there is poverty and hopeless people within a few miles of you. We can help in many ways large and small. What is important is that we try to help.
“When you think the gods are punishing you, they answer your prayers,” said Karen Blixen in Out of Africa. We can help answer some prayers..every day.