Early in the week, I decided to take a little break from the email and the Google and the feed readers and the blogging, just to focus on some things that desperately needed to be taken care of here at The HomeFront.
(Nothing bad, but things that I had delayed because of the lure of electronic time wasters. We're all good now.)
When I came back, I was inundated with what seemed like message after message of thumbs-down news. Friends were very sick, friends' kids' were very sick, friends' marriages were very sick . . . personal crises were unfolding with each email I read. It was a lot to take in.
(And these were not all the same friends, by the way, but when it rains, it pours, I guess. Take note if you are my friend!)
It seemed like I was ending reply after reply with promising to keep people in my prayers.
Oh, and then PS: Haiti has been completely devastated by a catastrophic earthquake.
I know you've seen the pictures and heard the reports. The numbers are staggering -- how can we comprehend 50,000+ when it applies to a death toll?
I was feeling deflated, and wondering just what can I do? For Haiti, for my friends, for any situation . . .
I am an affirmed believer in the power of prayer -- I have seen so many answered in dire circumstances -- so I knew I had to pray. I mean really step it up and PRAY.
Rob and I are also giving what we can, because we can. We are blessed.
I just read that our bishop has authorized the diocesan parishes to take up a special collection for Haiti, but there are many good organizations to which you can send even a small bit of money: Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Poor, The Red Cross. They know how to make a dollar stretch. Here is a good list of links to relief organizations.
Still, in all of this, I felt like my efforts are small, both globally and personally. Then, I was reminded by Lisa that the Patroness of Haiti is Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Of course she is. Our Heavenly Mother, always helping.
I started to contemplate that title for the Blessed Mother. Perpetual Help. Not just in crises alone, but in all times and all situations. And then I started to think about how I could be a lady of perpetual help, in my own small way.
I can be an astoundingly selfish creature, especially when it comes to my "me time." To say that I jealously guard it would be an understatement. I think -- I know -- that I say no to times of need when I could really be of service just because I'm afraid that I would be stretched too much.
Maybe my way of being of perpetual help is to open myself to times and opportunities that I would be of service - even in a small way - to someone in need.
To pray, without ceasing. To not be afraid to be stretched.
Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary.
What we need is to love without getting tired.
-Blessed Teresa of Calcutta