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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


First, I should say that the sobering, unimaginably horrible daily news from Haiti puts all our troubles in perspective.  It feels somehow dishonest to be blogging about transitions and exams in a world in which 50 thousand bodies are piled up on an island, unknown and unsung, for mass burial.

And then I should say that this line of thinking was, indirectly, brought to my heart by a TCK (third culture kid) I know.  His PE class was studying stress, and they took a quiz in which they answered questions about stressful events in their lives recently (separations, hospitalizations, deaths, losses).  The exercise then gave them a prediction of their chances of being stricken with a serious illness in the next year due to stress.  My informant scored 80% chance, highest in his group.  However, that did not phase him.  What he took away from the experience was this:  if I scored 80%, what would my friends at home score?  What about my neighbor, a kid my age, an orphan, who this weekend buried his step-brother who died of AIDS, who lives shuttled between relatives, whose other brother has basically stolen his dad's land?  

Good point.  There are many, many hardships of growing up between cultures, not the least of which is the fact that you never quite fit in anywhere.  And as we've prayed for Naomi and Quinn this week the reality of being a kid whose world changes so drastically as parents move on has been very acute.  However, there is the strength of knowing first-hand how others live, of looking through statistics to see faces, and of putting your own life into a world-wide perspective is priceless.  I remember my kids talking about an estimation question on an Iowa test: the topic was percentages, and they had categories like "talk on the phone" and "flown on an airplane".  And in their minds, the answers were tiny, because they see the large denominator of the world.

So today let me pause from complaining, remember the families who are sleeping under tarps and searching for drinkable water and threatened by anarchic gang violence in the country that was Haiti, and pray for their rescue and restoration.

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