Should we light a candle, ask questions, or just go about it like any other day?
They are the questions I ponder as we arrive at the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti.
Then, I think of what "she" went through in the last year. "She" being Bethlie, the 11year old who has been a part of our family since March, when her frail and broken body was taken off a jet on a San Antonio runway, and rushed to Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital.
Bethlie was at her school in Leogane when the earthquake struck. The building collapsed with Bethlie, her classmates, and her teachers inside. Bethlie was trapped in the rubble, with a broken leg, for 7 hours. She has talked about her best friend's lifeless body next to her, she could feel her hair and her braids, but she didn't answer her calls. What it must have been like to have been there one year ago.
Bethlie is a survivor in every sense of the word. She has also become part of the Spriester family. Her leg has healed from the break and the infection, amputation is no longer a threat. She talks to her mother in Haiti everyday, who is still living in a shack in a temporary tent city. Bethlie goes to school, plays with friends and my daughters and seems like any normal 11 year old, remarkable in and of itself. She has a resiliency that seems to be part of the Haitian culture. This country I knew of a year ago; I knew of the corruption and the poverty, but I knew little of the people.
That has drastically changed now.
My wife has seen the devastation in Haiti firsthand; a country that was poor before, but they had buildings, homes, water and sewer lines. Now those things are in shambles.
I plan on traveling there in the spring, to oversee the foundation work on a home we are building for Bethlie's family. "A Home For Haiti," the non-profit foundation my wife and I helped start, will fund the project. I am thankful for the donations.
Haiti has gone from this very foreign land for my family, to a part of my family, all because of a special 11 year old. So on the one year anniversary we will follow her lead - how would she like, or not like, to mark the year? I know the biggest gift we can give Haiti and the generations like Bethlie's who will re-build that country, is to not forget.
Keep Haiti in your mind and prayers, remember the need that is still there.