Friday, September 22nd 2017

Haiti up-close and personal

Haiti advocate Sean Penn will send Charlie Sheen to help raise spirits; We sent an Episcopal priest and psychotherapist

BY DAVID RICKEY – Haiti is a fascinating place in its own right, but for me it serves as a kind of microcosm of issues that are evolving around the planet. I just returned from my fourth visit to Port au Prince. Each time I go, I accomplish a little but learn a lot.

I can report that there is progress there. The streets, although still terrible and crowded with the chaotic traffic of trucks, SUVs and motorcycles weaving around each other, are cleaner and brighter. There is an renewed energy and purposefulness.

On May 14th, Haitians witnessed the inauguration of Joseph Michel Martelly – “Sweet Mickey” – a former pop star singer, but with a big heart and apparently a good mind. He is already seeking good changes in education, law and business to get Haiti on the road to recovery and self-assurance. However, every time I visit I learn more about the depth of the problems there. This gives me insight into the larger problem of this human adventure we are all on.

What does the Book of Acts have to do with Haiti?

The Haitian people became “free” in 1804 when Haiti was declared a free republic. But without education or understanding of how social democracy can work, the power that came with leadership inevitably led to corruption.

This continues to dog the entire system to this day. In a free society, an individual can rise from poverty to power, but without an understanding of social responsibility that power becomes an aphrodisiac. Separate from the awareness of “We,” the sense of “I” takes over.

To step back a minute, in the Book of Acts we learn that the early disciples, as they experienced the power of the Spirit, gathered for worship and meals and shared everything they had. Anyone who needed, received from the “pot” of shared goods and services. New converts were attracted to this new social structure, no doubt because it relieved the day-to-day anxiety about survival.

There was a sense of serving a higher purpose, but soon a hierarchy developed, and factions started to rival one another for power and control. What was missing then is missing now, not only in Haiti but globally.

It is too easy for individuals, groups and nations to rise to power and forget that there is a deeper spiritual truth calling us to share and trust in a wisdom that seeks to shape us into compassionate humans.

The smallest ones are the forgotten ones

I can see the tension in the orphanages I have been visiting.

On one hand, I watch the children care for each other. An older child will immediately go to a smaller one who is having trouble and comfort or help in a way that is quite heart-warming. On the other hand, fights will break out as the children vie for my attention or a chance to get lifted up over my head or get their picture taken. “Me next! Me next!” erupts and turns into chaos.

When there is a sense of scarcity, the Ego seeks its own survival, and when there is a sudden “richness,” of wealth or simple attention, the Ego seizes the opportunity to assure its own survival. That very process depletes the source (me, in this case). Greed controls the flow, or the chaos just wears me out. As a result there is no longer enough to go around.

I strongly believe there is a wisdom that guides this unfolding consciousness that has lead to our evolution as humans. I call it God. Although it is a mystery, it is one that I trust, having experienced too much of it to deny its presence. If we can only learn that there is an intention seeking enough for everyone, an intention that all can be happy, satisfied, fulfilled, we will awaken to this reality.

In a parable about heaven and hell, hell is a huge banquet with every conceivable food arrayed on long tables. The trouble is, the forks are each four feet long. All of the people are unable to feed themselves. As for heaven, it is a huge banquet with every conceivable food arrayed on long tables. The forks there, too, are each four feet long. But in heaven, everyone is feeding someone else.

You get the point.

David Rickey is an Episcopal priest, Soul’s Code co-founder and counselor in San Francisco who does a weekly ministry at a residence for the elderly in northern California. Follow David on Twitter.

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3 Comments on “Haiti up-close and personal”

  1. Great Post !!I really like your parable at the end about heaven and hell. Makes a lot of sense to me. The way I see it, by helping others we are helping ourselves.

  2. Great photos! I especially enjoy the pix of David looking "eye to eye" with the child.
    To the point about the children vying for your attention and that this has something to do with "ego", I would disagree. I think it has to do with a simple survival mechanism. They know that "white", "male" and "nice" indicates that you have the means and perhaps the will to take them out of their present situation. Nothing to do with ego, more to do with trying to find a parent.

  3. Thank you Cyndi, That's Emil, whom my sister sponsors, looking in (actually I thinking checking out) my eye. And Ismael, whom I sponsor, cuddling up with me.

    The "ego" isn't bad. It is exactly what seeks survival, and yes, they call me Papa Blanc and know that I could be a source of their "salvation". What I was getting at is, at the level of survival, without education to teach otherwise, this Ego/Survival mentality continues and leads to the corruption that is rampant in underdeveloped countries. That is why education is so important, not just technical, so they can get a job, but psycho-social (and hopefully spiritual) so that they can understand their true place and power in the evolution of their society and the planet.

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