It’s been a month. By now everyone has heard the pleas for help and seen the haunting pictures of faces of survivors and the mounds of rubble left in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti s ago. The requests for money, food, and medical supplies have been urgent, and many have answered the call to help. The needs are enormous and people from around the globe will need to continue to answer that call for some time as the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere looks ahead to its future.
Such needs in the face of massive loss can lead some of us stunned and paralyzed. The miles allow us to be somewhat detached, unable or unwilling to take on such incredible sorrow into our already full lives. But as members of the human family, we must dare to look and to feel and to be engaged on some level.
“In order to build our nation, we must all exceed our own expectations.” Those were the words spoken by Nelson Mandela to Francois Pienaar in the movie Invictus. I scribbled them down quickly as I heard them while watching the film this week. So profound and so relevant.
Invictus is the story of Nelson Mandela and his efforts to heal the chasms remaining in post-apartheid South Africa by appealing to their Rugby team to reach beyond what seemed possible… to win the 1995 World Cup. Their victory led by team captain, Pienaar united together their country to rise above their expectations of themselves.
The word “invictus” means unconquered in Latin. That’s precisely what I see as I listen to the reports of the rescue workers and the survivors in Haiti. While the quake registering 7.0 may have left the people in mourning as they bury their fathers and mothers, their sons and daughters, and left their homes in ruin, what I see is a people of hope and courage, faith and an amazing sense of resiliency. I hear stories of a people who are rising above not only their own, but the world’s expectations to survive and help their fellow country people face a new future.
Now that the fundraisers die down a bit, let us not forget. Let us be inspired to continue to help and learn from those in Haiti.