Caring in a Time of Cholera

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Thanksgiving falls in decrescendo of my birthday. That is, the minute I pass through all the stages of grieving, reach acceptance and stabilize over the idea of turning 29 yet again, it’s Thanksgiving. Just to point out that people can change, I’m pleased to say that this year I’m flat out grateful to be alive. I’m grateful for health, and I do not take it for granted.

Friends of mine, Brian and Cody Smith, lead the Omaha Rapid Response organization. Brian spends a great deal of time in Haiti organizing rescue efforts for people who were impacted by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the country nearly a year ago. Most recently he has been exerting tremendous effort combatting the recent Cholera epidemic. I was heartbroken to read Brian’s account of the newly orphaned baby boy who gasped his last breath while in Brian’s care for just a short period of time. Brian went to great lengths to bury him with dignity. He talked of the overwhelming grief he and others in Jubilee are experiencing with the enormous death tolls, dehydration, and unrelenting effects of Cholera. Whole families pour into the streets to mourn the death of their loved ones.

You know, I just need to talk about this. I do database design and now web development for a living. My daylight hours are filled with data. data. data. By design. That’s what I enjoy, and that is the sort of career I pursued. I’m paid to figure out why stuff doesn’t work, and make it work…in a hurry. While I’m getting ready for work there are days when my laptop is fired-up beside my makeup, and my day is in high gear before I’m even out of the house. There’s just no automatic grid in my life, or yours for that matter, that provides time and space to weep over little boys gasping their last breath of air. And that is really tragic. Because I do weep. And I do care.

Why is it that caring costs us so much?

Whether its my friend Brian holding a dying baby boy in Haiti, or my nieces who have been experiencing poor health, it seems like its time to develop the courage to really care. To get involved. To pick up the phone. To send a card. As a single person, this idea of getting involved with people and families is messy, and fraught with the potential for rejection or worse, being invisible. Families are faced with the very same stability that comes from barely controlled chaos. Caring for someone outside your immediate circle seems beyond your abilities, all the time.

John 15:13  “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

I challenge you today. Get involved. Care about the one in front of you. Return a phone call, that email. Make a donation but also send a card. It matters. It could be a matter of life and death.


2 thoughts on “Caring in a Time of Cholera

    Cody said:
    November 22, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Thank you for your writing. Not just this but all of it. I love you.

      Samantha Penhale said:
      November 22, 2010 at 5:49 am

      It’s my pleasure. I’m glad you saw it!


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