On January 12, 2010, at 4:53PM, as the end of this life was ushered in for hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting men, women, and children in Haiti, another virulent shock-wave buckled and tore along abstract social, political, spiritual, and international fault lines. Humanity was shaken on every level. Feelings of responsibility, duty, and honor floated to the surface once more.
The world responded. Aid poured in at an unprecedented rate, in some ways dwarfing the enormity of the earthquake itself. Race, class, gender, and age silently blurred into one simple, humanity. We collectively became one unified force for survival, on a crusade to make some sort of statement to fate about what we were willing to accept and how determined we were to fight against anything beyond that.
Two years later, as the world looks back and remembers, I wanted to share with you a small piece of my personal journey. It’s been nearly 1.5 years since this interview was filmed. Today is the first time I am sharing it with the world. Some of my closest friends have asked me why I have sat on this for so long. For starters, I think I just needed time. I needed to know that my motivations were pure. I needed to wait and see who I would be as I emerged on the other side of this traumatic experience. As I reflect, I finally feel ready to share this with you.
Today, I feel deeply grateful for several things. First, I am supremely grateful that my family and I survived the earthquake. So many people did not. This is never lost on us and we have been working hard to earn the extra time that we have been granted. Secondly, I am grateful to the Haitian people for electing to work with us to improve the state of education in Haiti. Finally, I am grateful for the grace of our friends and family members as we have moved (sometimes very slowly) through some really dark places.
Today, let this video shine a light into your life. In addition to hearing what Ann has to say about the state of education in Haiti, I want to personally ask you to take her challenges to heart. There really is more to life than the pursuit of money or things or power. Ask yourself what you’re doing to give back to the world that you share with others. Look for the things that make us the same, then allow those things to guide you into being a kinder, gentler, and more loving sister or brother to your global family.
In 2012, instead of cursing the darkness, please make the choice to shine your light.
I know you’ll be glad you did.