You can be sure the people in Haiti are. Using all their strengths that is.
Sometimes we are oblivious to our most obvious strengths.
A little girl was having difficulty lifting a heavy stone.
Her mother came along just then.
Noting the girl’s failure, she asked, “Are you using all your strength?”
“Yes, I am,” the little girl said impatiently.
“No, you are not,” the mother answered.
“I am right here just waiting, and you haven’t asked me to help you.”
Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster, talked of the good that can come from large-scale natural disasters – from the “improvised communities” people form “to pull each other out of the rubble” to the feeling of purposefulness, self-transcendence and even “deep joy” people experience in places where disaster hits.
Ms. Solnit speaks of survivors finding “a deep connection that is often missing” in their ordinary lives.
In a disaster, she said, “we not only do extraordinary things; we feel extraordinary things. A lot of the things that trouble us every day – whether we are lonely or feel bitter about the past – a lot of those things are brushed away.”
Natural disasters provide “an extraordinary window into social desire and possibility.” Our response to disaster gives us nothing less than “a glimpse of who else we ourselves may be and what else our society could become.”
My heart goes out to Haiti and all the remarkable people there. May their strengths and ours combine to rebuild and reinvigorate.
And you? Who are you? Really. Are you using all your strength? Really?