Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lighting the Candle of Hope

Haiti. Have you seen the pictures? From palace to shanty there is devastation to property. Worse, so much worse, is loss of life. Thousands, maybe one hundred thousand.  Those who survived have injuries that may never heal. These people did nothing more than live their lives on a tectonic fault zone, one we don't usually think of as being very active.
They probably thought this would never happen.

I live in a fault zone. Actually, most of the world is seismically active in one way or another, just not subject to earthquakes or volcanoes. Until one happens. I don't mean to scare you, but we live on something like ice floes and the currents of the earth carry us around. There isn't actually anyone driving the "ice floe" we live on, so it's subject to running into other "ice floes." OK, substitute the word "plate" for ice floe and that's what tectontic plates are. Yes, it looks and feels like rock.  Heck, it is rock.  And it's floating on the surface of the hotter-than-you-can-imagine gooey part of our earth.  Some plates scrape past each other, sideswiping continents. That's mostly what the San Andreas Fault is with the Pacific Plate scootching vaguely northward.

So all of you who are secretly hoping that California will someday fall into the sea, I hate to break the news but we're just inching northward.  Now, with major storms in the winter, there are definitely some apartment buildings and houses on crumbling cliffs in Pacifica and other places on the coast with a little more ocean view than their occupants really wanted.  When your own home is sliding at a rakish angle down a cliff, that can seem like your own personal Tower card.  Pack your stuff.  Get to safety.  But I'm talking about bigger things here.

If you think of this "bumper car" concept, some plates sideswipe, some actually rip apart and some have head-on collisions that may either wrinkle both into a pile-up of a mountain range (or even wrinkle downwards like the Mariannas Trench) or jam one plate under another one. So if you think that by running something into the ground there are no consequences, think again.

This isn't a sudden process. It happens all the time. It just usually happens so slowly that we don't really realize it. It builds up pressure until it pops.  Until, of course, something terrible happens. Then, it's personal. Toss out the Little Professor and please, call the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders and other truly helpful organizations to help these people. 

As big and powerful as the bumper-car-ice-floe-tectonic plates of the world are as they split and scrape and collide, nothing is as important as the human toll.

So, in times like this, it is important to remember that the next card after The Tower, the unexpected devastation that tears down to the foundation, is The Star. The Star is Hope.

Be the gift of hope for those in need.

Red Cross International Response Fund:


Doctors Without Borders:

Other sources of relief can be found at

And finally, light a candle for those in need, those whose lives have been unutterably marked by this terrible event.

Best wishes.

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