DISCLAIMER: This writing my seem disjointed but it’s been another one of those weeks where my heart has been heavy and my mind has been lacking in solutions. Just had to get this off my chest.
Those of you who are fans of James Baldwin, understand the magnitude of that title, taken from a letter he wrote to his nephew. If you are not familiar with Baldwin, I highly recommend that you read his work. To say that the past 10 days have been eventful, traumatic, and inspirational would be an understatement. In fact, such a statement would not do justice to the events that have occurred in Haiti. What started last Tuesday afternoon with a 7.0 magnitude earthquake has turned into a never-seen-before tragedy of epic proportions. I am certain that the people of Haiti will never forget this day, especially those who saw loved ones perish before their eyes. My mind cannot even fathom what they were thinking when they saw the ground open up in front of them. Sounds like a scene from some futuristic Hollywood movie. Then reality set in: It didn’t happen on a soundstage, some remote, unheard of country, or in some high-tech computer. Nope, it happened in Haiti. By all intents and purposes, Haiti was an unheard (or unthought) of country until last week.
As I watched the telethon and interacted with my friends on Twitter, I couldn’t help but feel sad, happy, and amazed all at the same time. I didn’t even understand why Baldwin came to mind while I watching. All week reports have been retweeted about the number of deaths ‘expected.’ I refused to receive those predictions. Call me crazy or in denial, but I was (and still am) not ready to call it quits just yet. You see, the past few years have really been learning years for me. I have learned (or forced myself) to stop trying to analyze everything and rely on my faith to ease my pain and comfort me during times that other people would have lost it. Sometimes your faith is the only thing you have. If you don’t believe me, watch the footage of the woman pulled from the rubble after 8 days. She didn’t ask any questions. She didn’t complain. She started thanking God and singing. Ha! The reporter couldn’t understand why she was singing. I laughed. Not at her, but at them. They just don’t get it. No amount of explaining will help them get it either. Kinda reminds me of something our pastor always says about working on being better Christians. No amount of talking will convince people that faith is real and belief in God is a powerful thing. The only thing we can do is show them with our actions.
Listening to the news last night, someone said something about rescue efforts coming to an end soon. That scared me. I thought the relief workers were going to give-up looking for survivors. I prayed really hard last night. I asked God to continue supporting and keeping the people of Haiti safe, especially those who were working to find people, with limited resources. “God I need you to show the people that You are real and You do things that we cannot explain. If You can make sure a 16 month-old baby survives being buried in the rubble, You can do any and everything. If you can keep a woman alive after 8 days with no food or water, You can do any and everything.’ I went to bed feeling better and optimistic that today would bring more good news. Since I didn’t log-on to Twitter until early this evening, I had no idea of the progress made in Haiti earlier today. When I learned that a little girl was pulled from a house TODAY, after being trapped for 10 days….you either feel that or you don’t. I can’t make you feel the significance of that. Something divine; luck had no hand in it. I’m not concerned about what people think about my belief because I KNOW God heard my praying last night and I asked for something for someone else; nothing for myself. He knew I needed that. We all needed that today.
As I sit here writing this, I realized the irony in referencing Baldwin in a post, mostly about my faith. I read ‘Go Tell It On The Mountain’ in college and it had a great impact on me. In fact, it made me rethink my view on ;organized’ religion. For those of you thinking that I purposefully chose the quote and this topic, you give me way too much credit! This has been an ‘off’ week for me…lost my mo-jo. Too many other important things going on for me to dedicate space to my usual topics, e.g., the education ‘experts’ in Georgia. Matter-of-factly, I am trying to figure out how I can get involved with rebuilding the educational infrastructure (not just buildings) in Haiti. Why not? I have spent that past 3 years fighting the good ol’ boy network to bring arts-based education to my mostly Brown and Black community. Why not someplace where my intelligence and abilities won’t be challenged by some old decrepit White man and handful of ‘good’ Negroes?
Tonight, I realized that “The very time I thought I was lost, My dungeon shook and my chains fell off,” (Baldwin) And it felt good.