My once-in-history opportunity.
By the time I knew what to call it, I was in neck deep. Maybe when you said goodbye as your cousin die and your best friend left for the marines. You realized that these days are more than ice cream trips, homework, and pimples. This is called life. And this one is mine.
Life is racing by, and if we aren’t careful, you and I will look up, and our shot at it will have passed us by. Some people don’t bother with such thoughts; they grind through their days without lifting their eyes to look. They live and die and never ask why. But you aren’t numbered among them, or you wouldn’t be reading a journal entitled outline your life. It’s not enough for you to do well. You want to do good. You want your life to matter. You want to live in such a way that the world will be glad you did. But how can you? How can i? I have one hundred and twenty answers to that question.
In 2010 an earthquake devastated the city of Port-au-Prince. Thousands of people were killed, and tens of thousands were left homeless. A philanthropist offered to sponsor a relief team from our college. This flyer was posted in our dormitory: “needed: students willing to use their spring break to help rebuilt homes in petit-goave. I applied, was accepted, and began attending the orientation sessions. There were 16 of us in all. Mostly ministry students. All of us, it seemed, love to discuss medical, politics and theology. We were young enough in our faith to believe we knew all the answers. This made for lively discussions. By the time we reach petit-goave, we’d covered the controversies and reveal our true colors. I’d discerned the faithful from the infidels, the healthy from the heretics. I knew who was in and who was not.
But all of that was forgotten. The destruction from the earthquake dwarfed our differences. Entire villages had been leveled. Children were wandering through rubble. Long lines of wounded people awaited medical attention. Our opinions seemed suddenly petty. The disaster demand team work. The challenge created a team. The task turned rivals into partners. I remember one fellow in particular. He and I had distinctly different opinions regarding the styles of medical care. I- the open minded, relevant thinker-favored contemporary, un-beat music. He-the stodgy, close minded caveman-preferred hymns and hymnals. Yet when staking bricks for houses and cleaning wounds, guess who worked shoulder to shoulder? As we did we began to sing together. We sang old songs and new, slow and fast. Only later did the irony of it dawn on me. Our common concern gave us common song.
“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need for you’” we cannot say, “I have no need of you.” The bigger need the smaller one. The liberal needs the conservative. The pastor needs the missionary. What if the missing ingredient for changing the world is team work?
Suppose our group had a clustered to opinions. Divided according to doctrines. If we had made unanimity a prerequisite for partnership, can you imagine the consequences? we wouldn’t accomplished anything.When workers divide, it is the suffering who suffer most. But we find common ground in the death, burial. Because we did, lives were changed.
Written by, Michael St Vilien.