Thursday, January 14, 2010

What is a Fortune?

Last night the last thing I wanted to do was make dinner. Katie and Henry and I decided to do something simple. We had Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. It seems wrong, somehow, to plan or expect anything more when images of suffering people in Haiti, who have no clean water available much less food, replay in my mind.

I couldn't help but realize, as I turned on the faucet to run water, or opened my refrigerator to see the options within, that the people of Haiti can't do that. They're living in the streets, waiting. Waiting for medical care. Waiting to honor their dead. Waiting for water. Waiting for food. Waiting for relief. So many times I focus on what is lacking in my life, what I don't have, what I think I need.

Today I am grateful for a roof over my head, for running water and electricity, for the ability to see a doctor when necessary. I consider my whining over not going on a cruise this March silly. I had planned to go, and despite careful planning and optimism, the funds were not ultimately there, so I had to cancel this trip and was feeling sorry for myself. The photo with this post was taken in March 2007 when six of us traveled the western Caribbean on my first cruise. This photo was our first port-of-call, Labadee, Haiti, and it was a beautiful day in a beautiful place. What you don't see in this photo is the reality beyond the resort: the poverty and devastation that already plagued this island nation long before the earthquake ever hit. The earthquake has only magnified the lack of resources in Haiti. I hope it brings the world's attention to Haiti, a place Tracy Kidder refers to as practically a neglected colony of the United States. It seems wrong to ignore the lack of fortune they've suffered for years when we, only 700 miles away, don't even realize how fortunate we are. Kidder asks the world to help restore Haiti to "its former promise."

I have no wealth, no equity in anything. But what I do have is a fortune -- the simple things too often taken for granted. I'll remind myself of that every time it seems something's lacking. I have so, so much.

Photo: Jeannie Eddy, March 2007

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