Sunday, January 24, 2010

Behind My Frosted Windows

It is impossible to wander this planet and not be humbled in the face of its abundant curiousities, wonders I can never hope to understand, beauty I cannot grasp. So many mysteries. So many questions. Why do I have the same crooked index finger that my father had? How does The Songwriter manage to play the piano so beautifully, by ear? How does Edward know to come sit by the front door a full five minutes before I pull in the driveway?

Why do some of us recognize true love early on, whilst others spend years in the searching. Why is selfishness so often justified, greed so often rewarded?

Why do the innocent suffer?

I have sat behind my frosted windows these past couple of weeks, listening and reading of the horror that is Haiti, frustrated in my impotence, heartsick at the very thought of what those people are facing. I give my money, I say my prayers. I wonder why I was born where I was, why I am comfortable and safe, surrounded by love - warm, well-fed, and hopeful.

Call me idealistic, but I have always truly believed those old sayings from the sixties, the ones that exhorted us to “bloom where we’re planted”, to “be the change we wish to see in the world”, to “think globally, act locally”. In the work that I do for my neighborhood, my community, in the smiles and the kindness I try to show to the strangers I meet every day, I like to think it is making a tiny bit of difference, warming just a corner of creation and that, perhaps, just perhaps, that wee bit of warmth might spread to other people, other places. And then I am knocked to my knees in despondency by the magnitude of suffering in a place I know so very little about, lost in my inability to help or even comprehend.

As of Thursday evening, Americans had given over $355 million to the various organizations that are attempting to alleviate the suffering in Haiti. I encourage us all to contribute where we can.

The Red Cross is accepting donations


Also, The Songwriter has offered his song, Brand New Day, for a free download at a special site for Haiti relief sponsored by Paste Magazine.

You may access the site


Just make a donation through one of the organizations on the Paste site, and you'll be able to download the song. Once you've made your donation, and you're ready to download, simply scroll down the song list till you see his name, Pat Terry.

Faced with the incomprehensible, we do what we can.

And we pray.


I have had the echo of this old Stephen Foster song in my head all week.

It just won’t leave.

Let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears

While we all sup sorrow with the poor

There’s a song that will linger forever in our ears;

Oh, hard times come again no more.

While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay

There are frail forms fainting at the door

Though their voices are silent their pleading looks will say;

Oh, hard times come again no more.

“Tis the song, the sigh of the weary

Hard times, hard times come again no more

Many days you have lingered

Around my cabin door

Oh, hard times come again no more.

by Stephen Foster

Painting above, Winter Mood, 1957 by Nikolai Mikhailovich Romadin