Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I remember the simulcast...

of "We are the World" way back in the 1980's when every radio station in the nation agreed to play that song at the same time. I had my radio on at the time, and I ran it up and down the dial that day and was truly awed by the fact that every station had it on. We had pulled together as a nation and as a world to make a difference in the lives of people dying across a vast ocean. We were all caught up in the horrors of the starvation of millions in Ethiopia, and we did something phenomenal. Somebody wrote a song. Michael Jackson was one of the lead singers. All those great musicians got together and made that record - or were CDs out already? Millions of dollars were raised. Lives were saved. We were the world. I'm not sure if anyone has written a song about this earthquake/tsunami situation yet, but we are being the world again.

I am delighted, gratified, and impressed by the outpouring of love and support and prayers for those suffering in Asia. Amazon.com has begun to collect donations on behalf of the Red Cross through their website, and they have already collected nearly $600,000. Blogs and other websites I frequently check in with are filled with good wishes and kind thoughts. People are reaching out. I am so glad that I was so wrong about the apathy in our nation. I hope and pray that our concern for our Asian brothers and sisters does not diminish before the needs are met and lives are saved.

Again today I was consumed with finding out what is going on there. I read stories of families separated, lovers lost in the open sea, and foreboding forecasts of disease and starvation on the horizon. But the aid being sent, the doctors going over, and the quick response of so many nations and individuals have all prompted the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to suggest that new loans may not be necessary in those areas. Yeah for us all - that we have banded together across national and linguistic borders to assist those who have nothing to offer in return but gratitude. May peace and good will prevail not only now in this time of dire crisis, but also far into the new year.

Today I was fully mindful of and newly grateful for the blessing of washing dishes, of doing laundry, of heating the chicken noodle soup a friend brought over for my ailing children, and of playing Skip-Bo with my husband and the kids. (By the way, that’s an awesome card game put out by the makers of Uno.) Both of the children are suffering with colds, and the simple act of giving them tissues, making tea for them, and seeing them nestled in their warm beds under comforters and quilts – it was miraculous for me because there are countless mothers in Asia who have no blankets tonight and no dinner to offer their children. To have fresh water come out of the tap, to listen to the crash of the ice cubes as they cascaded out of the freezer door, to scrub our bathroom tiles and sinks with that sweet citrus scented cleanser and to vacuum – all those mundane tasks were miraculous for me today because I knew that it will be months, perhaps years before some of those very mundane activities become mundane again in southern Asia. Or Darfur. Or Kosovo. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Israel. Or Palestine. Or Colombia. Or South Africa. Or the hurricane stricken places in the Caribbean and southern United States. Or so many other places near and far.

My cry goes up again: Kyrie Eleison. Lord, have mercy.

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