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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Thoughts from Haiti

I thought I would quote this that I received yesterday: (It was much longer and very moving)
Early on Thursday morning, before leaving the hotel for my flight to Burbank, Calif., I read a passage from Elie Wiesel’s book Night, which was quoted in a book on Franciscan humility that I was reading:
The SS hanged two Jewish men and a youth in front of the whole camp. The men died quickly, but the death throes of the youth lasted for a half an hour. “Where is God? Where is he?” Someone asked behind me. As the youth still hung in torment in the noose after a long time, I heard the man call again, “Where is God now?” And I heard a voice in myself answer, “Where is he? He is here. He is hanging there on the gallows.”

My thoughts after reading that drifted back to the painful memory of the collapsed grammar school. I could see inside a classroom. The blackboard, small desks, scattered books and notebooks were clearly visible. The haunting site of a young boy’s decaying foot sticking out from the rubble. One minute the boy was studying, the next minute he was dead. Where was God? God was hidden in the rubble, the magnificence and mystery of God’s humanity at its worst. I thought how God is often buried under the rubble of our lives, buried under so many trivial and unimportant things that prevent us from loving God. And loving God is of paramount importance in the life of a Christian.

I’m not sure how long it will take to make any sense out of what I saw in Haiti. Maybe it will never make any sense. But I do know that the presence of so many wonderful men and women who rushed into this hell of suffering was truly inspirational, for they became living symbols of the compassion God calls each of us to embody.

[Gerry Straub is a filmmaker, who in December was in Haiti working on a documentary titled "Angels of Compassion: the Luminous Force of Intentional Kindness." He returned to Haiti Jan. 21 for more filming. While there, he filed reports for NCR by phone.]
All the stories from the " Haiti Dispatches " series

1. 'Organized chaos' as help reaches Haiti, Jan. 22
2. The outpouring of compassion is amazing , Jan. 23
3. Line between haves and have nots has disappeared, Jan. 24
4. A huge tragedy made startlingly personal, Jan. 27
5. Homeward bound, Jan. 29

For more information on the foundation Straub created, The San Damiano Foundation in Burbank, Calif., and to read about and order his films, please see

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