I don’t usually do this…

…this way.

I usually have something prepared before I even log on. But I’ve been a very busy little monkey lately and I feel as if I’ve turned my back on my writing here. So tonight I’m going “freestyle”. Stream of conciousness stuff. Well, not really that bad, but since you, silent masses, will ultimately make the final judgement on all this anyway, I suppose I digress.

Long story short, I’ve got a new job. I have taken on the task of “video coordinator” for a relief organization. A charity.

I gotta’ tell you guys, if my path gets any weirder, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to function. Seriously… a charity… me?

You see, I’m not a “nice” guy. Cynical gene is dominant in the DNA strand. Sympathy level is really…strike that, what sympathy? I just don’t do warm and fuzzy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t kick puppies, steal candy from children, or even cut in line when people aren’t looking, I’m just not, “warm and fuzzy”.

No apologies. I’m pretty content. But really I digress again. To my point.

I now spend an inordinate amount of time editing video footage that my organization collects while on trips to Haiti. I will say briefly, that it’s every bit as bad as you’ve been told and worse. I’ll not expound on that point because I’m certain you’ve all been inundated with information about all the hell holes of the world in it’s ever shrinking glory. Pictures, sound bytes and video images from places like the African continent, various places in Asia, Fresno California… just checking to see if you were paying attention.

Anyway, after spending x amount of hours per day, per week, etc watching these people living in absolute squalor and wretched conditions with absolutely no hope of anything more than extended bouts of heat and hunger, I started to get inured to it. As unbelievable as it was to me, one afternoon I was putting clips of video together that featured a man and his children (3). 6 yrs. and under. All with the distended bellies that signify malnutrition. It registered about halfway in that I wasn’t feeling anything at all. I had hit the “it’s just a job” zone.

Regardless of what I said earlier, I’m not an unfeeling monster. I should have been feeling something. (I wonder if nurses go through something like this?)

Anyway, it being my job and all, I continued on in methodic fashion for another  twenty minutes or so. Nothing of note, nothing out of the ordinary. You know, broken woman here, emaciated child there, etc… The camera panned from right to left attempting to take in all the people gathered in this village and as it did, something did catch my eye. It went so fast I had to stop and back the footage up a little. There she was. On a poor excuse for a chair placed on a poor excuse for a porch at the front of a poor excuse for a house/home, was an older woman. If she was younger than seventy two I’ll eat my hat. But it wasn’t her age that struck me it was her eyes and by extension, her face.

From where I sit in my reasonably appointed office, it’s virtually impossible for me to fathom the horrors this life had thrown her way. How many times had she gone to bed hungry in the space of 70 years or so? There’s a very, very real chance she’d lost children to starvation or disease. Honestly, the list goes on and on.  But bear with me here. It took me all of a split second to see that there was something different about her.

She sat there unfazed by what had transpired in her life. She sat there with a small smile on her face and simply watched. Took it all in. She was magic. Whatever spiritual armor she had donned before this day was unassailable. She did not ask for help. She did not plead with her eyes. On the contrary, they were fierce in the kind of joy for life that many of us simply can’t grasp or better yet, hold on to for very long.

I sat there in my chair transfixed by this woman. I realized that I wasn’t an unfeeling bastard. I had just gone to sleep to protect my heart from this “stuff”. I’m simply not a strong enough person to embrace all that heartache so closely every day. Day in and day out.

You’re probably thinking I’m going to end with this but I’m not. Because something else happened.

When I finally advanced the video forward to continue my task, I saw a man leaning against a broken down car. I stopped the video again. He was farther away so the quality of the image wasn’t as good, but it didn’t have to be. It wasn’t his eyes that spoke to who he was. It was his stance. His posture. He had one hand on the shoulder of a youngster and you could see a great many things by simply looking at the way he stood. He was obviously tried and tired, but that simply wasn’t the sum total of him. There was protectiveness for his child obviously, but there was also will. He was indomitable. Not in an arrogant, ugly, “I’ll kick your ass” sort of way, but in that way that simply spoke to his strength of spirit. He was beautiful.

I moved on. More and more in person after person, I began to see this magic in all of them. Unquenchable spirit in one followed by the unabashed joy of drawing another breath in the next. What grace. What power, what magic.  I was completely overwhelmed by a level beauty I never even knew existed. I said a quick “thank you” to God right then and there for allowing me the opportunity to see this. And for them as well. It was very much like having the cover of something lifted away for a moment. You get to briefly see the treasure inside.  Only God can give this kind of gift to them and to me.

Men simply can’t make this magic. It’s too big. We are from time to time, clever. And we have good hands sometimes, but really, I can’t even get good 3G coverage. Seriously. We just can’t impart that kind of shabby regality to any race as a whole.

My heart, broken again, I closed my laptop and walked away trapped between “surviving as numb-guy” and “partially awakened” to something that has always been there and I had not the eyes to see. It is unfortunate to go so long so blind, but I see a little better today then yesterday.

Imagine what tomorrow might bring…



~ by trendof1 on June 22, 2010.

3 Responses to “I don’t usually do this…”

  1. First and foremost, we’re so glad to hear about your job! It sounds like you’ve seen more than most of us do. It’s so easy to turn a blind eye to the sufferings of this world, but it’s right here in front of our face. How would I handle circumstances like that? I’ll tell ya, like a big baby, with a lot of complaining… Thanks for sharing that story. It really touches ones heart and soul to see what life is for others that are not SO privileged, as we are. How they deal with day to day needs, water, food, shelter, medications… that day to day just wondering if our needs will be met. And to watch a child starving is more that I can bare! God bless you and use you in your new position Dave. Den and Nae

  2. You never cease to amaze me. Perhaps it’s your quiet surface that hides a (self-denied) deep and loving soul. Perhaps it’s the way you claim to be cynical and yet can move the very core of me with your compassion and expression of your depth. Maybe it’s the strength and wisdom that moves endlessly around you and makes me feel like I’m held, softly yet firmly, and everything will be alright as long as you are beside me…

  3. God’s loving preace is always around us as you said. We’re so blessed to have a relasionship with the Holy Father! We hope that the charity work that you’re a part of, blesses many needy people. Stay in His Arms and keep sharing.

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