Thursday, November 23, 2006
Happy Thanksgiving from Haiti
Did you know that the national U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving began during the depths of the Civil War? Thanksgiving was celebrated at various times by the states prior to this. According to Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals," in 1863, Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State, William "Seward presented Lincoln with a proclamation that invited citizens 'in every part of the United States,' at sea or abroad, 'to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November' to give thanks to 'our beneficent Father.' The proclamation also commended to God's care 'all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers,' and called on Him 'to heal the wounds of the nation' and restore it to 'peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.'"
What do the poor in Haiti have to be thankful for? At times, it can seem like not much. But they would tell you they are thankful to God. The weather in Haiti is good. They currently have a democratically elected president. They are grateful for those who come from other places to help. They love their children. When they have the resources, they are excellent cooks. They love to sing and dance and praise God. They also have hope, mainly in God, for themselves and their children.
In part it seems as if the above proclamation was written with Haitians in mind for this country is indeed a land full of orphans, widows, mourners, and sufferers, much like 19th century America, but worse. Later today, we will be having our Thanksgiving meal with children at an orphanage. These are the lucky orphans though; they are not on the streets or serving as child slaves, restaveks, in the homes of the rich. The proclamation commends these people to God's care.
If you believe, as we do, that God is most present among the poor, the sick, and the suffering, then He is very present in Haiti. He needs us to be His eyes, hands, feet, and ears to help alleviate the misery so many live in.
We want to wish everyone reading this a Happy Thanksgiving. We have much to be grateful for. We are all basically healthy. Our families are doing well. We are making slow progress toward the completion of our adoption. We are in a place where John can use his medical talents on behalf of those who need them the most. We thank the poor Haitians whom we know for showing us what is truly important and for their kindness to us. We thank God for creating the world, including a little boy named Luke Innocent.