January 13, 2015

Sorting Shattered Fragments

Yesterday, on January 12, five years ago, a huge earthquake rocked the country of Haiti at a 7.0 on the Richter scale.  By January 24, at least 52 aftershocks were recorded, at 4.5 or greater.  Three million people were estimated to be affected by the devastation, and numbers ranged from 100,000 to 220,000 in death toll. The horrific catastrophe left many people homeless, hungry, wounded, orphaned, widowed, or childless.

The earthquake struck when I was ten, and my young heart was touched by the heavy weight of death and sorrow in Haiti. I wrote a short story about the quake and though it is simple and little, the message touched many who read it at the time.

The Story of a Tear ~ Janelle Spiers
          I am a tear.  I am a tear welling up in the eye of a girl.  She has just gotten word that a loved one is in Haiti.  In Haiti, a terrible earthquake has destroyed everything.
         I will now begin my journey; it is a journey of sorrow and a journey of hope.  As I trickle down her cheek she leans over to say a prayer, and I fall into Yellowstone Lake.
         When I fall into the water, I start to sparkle out among the fern.  All around me I can see beauty and the evidence of a living God. I think about these things as I make my way out of the lake and into the river.
         Days later I reach Yellowstone River.  I’m in Montana, which is the name of a popular hotel in Haiti, where many people were trapped.  God knows each one by name, and He has not forgotten them.
         I go through lake Sakakawea, the Missouri river, through lake Oahe and back into the Missouri.  I head into Kansas City and join the big, roaring Mississippi river. The roar causes me to think of the people crying out in pain.  I shudder at the thought.  So many people died.  So many loved ones lost - so much agony, suffering, and pain. How can they go on unless they have hope – hope in the One who can turn ashes into beauty.  I share their sorrow, and like them I must go on.   
I sail down the Mississippi River all the way down to New Orleans.  Suddenly, I think about hurricane Katrina, which devastated this city just five years ago.  How terrible it was!  I realize that the people here are moving beyond their grief and on with life.  They’re rebuilding their lives and regaining hope! 
I make a sudden sally through the delta and I chatter as I flow right into the Gulf of Mexico! But my journey doesn’t end here.  I make my way toward Haiti to share my grief but also my hopes; hopes for the people too not only survive but to thrive.        
            So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
            I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous
            Right hand.

                                                            Isaiah 41:10

Years later, when I read over my simple thoughts and hurting heart, I remember.  I remember the people of Haiti, those who lived there, those who died there, and those that live there now.  I remember the fear and pain that must have come for those who lost everything; think of it, they lost everything.  

But even in that place of nothingness, even in the times of hopelessness and suffering, we can still sort through the shattered fragments of our broken lives and try to pick up the pieces.  If they stay prostrate on the ground, there is no chance to rebuild.  But if we have the strength and courage to pick up the crumbling chunks, gather the loosed ends, and tie them ramshackle back together, there is hope to rebuild. 

Let's sort through broken pieces
And stumble thick in dust. 
Rake the dirt with fingers
Through, soil, death and rust.

Keep on searching, loved one.
Never give up hope
The thinest thread is one that binds
The pieces into rope.

Sort through shattered fragments
Comb through dirt and pain
Gather all the silver shards
That glitter like the rain.

Glue them back together
With the bonding kiss of hope
Sort through shattered pieces
Bind them as a rope. 

...Let's sort through broken pieces...

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