They say that over 100,000 people died from last week’s earthquake in Haiti. Take the complexity, gifts, intelligence, stories, secrets, friendships, acquired wisdom, ambitions, prayers, and love that make up one person and multiply that by 100,000. So great a loss is hard to imagine.

I imagine a young Hatian woman, 25 years old, my age. She is tall and graceful, with a beautiful face. What is she doing right now? Searching for food? Fainting from thirst? Picking up the shattered pieces of her home? Looking for her lost brother? Comforting her elderly grandmother? Sleeping on the street among shards of broken glass?

I sit at my desk, in my lovely house, with a plate of food nearby.

Why should I have such ease and she such disaster? I’ve done nothing more … just tried to live my life the best I could, as she has. And perhaps she has lived a better life than I. Perhaps she is more hard working, more devout, more generous.

How do I live, in light of this horrifying difference?

Perhaps the only right way to live this life is with humility and thankfulness. To reflect each day upon the grace given to me until amazement rises like the dawn. Perhaps it means to be radically generous. To benefit my community as much as possible with the gifts I’ve been given.

This is not who I am, but it is who I want to be.

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