It was a day.
A day that started like any other day for so many people.
For millions in Haiti.
For hundreds of thousands around the world.
For my kids.
For my family.
And at 4:53 pm all of that changed. Many people saw and felt and smelled the changes instantly. For those who lost loved ones, for those who lost limbs, the moment was immediate, painful and permanent.
For those who survived, the damage was indescribable. The toll that it took on the lives of so many in Haiti is hard to imagine let alone relate to others. The survivors were also victims of the earthquake.
The children – so many children were impacted by the shaking of January 12, 2010. The children who lived through it and remained in Haiti. The children who lived through it and ended up being evacuated from Haiti. My wife and I were privileged to play a small role in the evacuation of over 80 children from God’s Littlest Angels to the United States and elsewhere. These children went through the shock and trauma of suddenly being uprooted but at the same time were able to experience in many cases a lot more quality time with their adoptive families that they weren’t expecting to have.
The adoptive parents – friends of ours went from expecting that it would be 2 years until their kids came home to getting them home in 2 months. Talk about a shock.
But they aren’t the only ones effected by this quake.
The world changed for millions of adults in Haiti almost instantly on January 12, 2010. Most of them didn’t have the luxury of evacuating the disaster. This was who they were, this was where they were and this was where God had planted them. So, they struggled, they wept, they mourned and they kept going.
They had no other choice.
But there were many others in Haiti who had a choice. They were there because they wanted to help. They could have evacuated, they could have gone to whatever “home” was for them.
But they stayed. They might have left for a short period of time – for their own healing, for the sake of their families, but they came back. They carried the torch. They helped the helpless. They gave faith and hope to the hopeless. They endured countless aftershocks and countless wonderings, “will this be worse?”
They stayed at great risk and great personal cost. They stayed because there was a need and they could meet that need.
Speaking of personal friends of mine, many of them are still paying the price for staying. In many ways – some seen, some unseen.
The cost of this earthquake goes well beyond the dollars in damage and the lives lost. It shook people to their core.
Both inside and outside Haiti.
It shifted what’s important for many people.
It shifted what people think of natural disasters.
It shifted the belief of many that one person can’t make a difference.
It reinforced in the lives of many adopted children “the importance of being Haitian.”
It adjusted career trajectories and paths for many. I don’t know whether I would be where I am if it weren’t for January 12, 2010.
I know of at least three children who are alive and thriving with their adoptive families who wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the evacuation after the quake.
I don’t know why the earthquake happened.
Questioning why God allowed such a painful and difficult thing to happen is a topic for a much bigger and different discussion.
But I do know this……
The aftershocks of this natural disaster are still moving through the “earth” of life and God is moving in those vibrations.
God is making good things out of very difficult trials.
God is providing solace where there was suffering.
God is providing healing – not always on this earth but He is the ultimate healer.
God is moving through the difficulties that are life in Haiti.
He’s moving in the hearts of many and many lives have been changed.
Many people have seen and learned of God since then.
Many people have been the hands and feet of God since then to a troubled people in a troubled nation.
January 12, 2010 – a turning point for many. A disaster for even more.
May God bless and keep those impacted by January 12, 2010.
May we all see God’s hand and feel God’s grace.
And may we never forget to remember Haiti,