Earthquake Beauty

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”false” link=”term=tree+blossom&iid=5277552″ src=”c/7/e/f/Apple_blossoms_and_1132.jpg?adImageId=12415501&imageId=5277552″ width=”500″ height=”333″ /]I sit in a Panera Bread in Bloomington, IL as my daughter, Emily, visits overnight at a local university.  Bloomington ain’t a pretty town: ugly urban sprawl, run down neighborhoods–but today beauty pokes through, beauty that accompanies new life.  Hundreds of miles south of Minneapolis, spring blooms in Bloomington.  Beautiful nuggets keep taking my breath away: blossoming crab apple trees surprise the cemented, cluttered landscape pink and white, here and there lush lawn scent overcomes the odor of industry and wafts in open windows…maybe in the midst of pervasive ugliness pockets of beauty are more apparent…yes, in Bloomington, IL today, I believe this is true. (if you’re a Bloomington-ite and I’m missing something, do say…sorry, don’t mean to offend…)

True to what I’d expect from Bloomington, my “decent online deal” hotel room was dingy and rundown–moldy smell, broken towel rack,  dusty TV cabinet, smeared mirror.  As I gazed at the ceiling while floating in the “dirt at the bottom” indoor pool I reflected on the people of Haiti.  Luxurious were my accommodations compared to theirs.  I had nothing to complain about…all of a sudden I was grateful for grimy windows and the soap scummed shower I would soon scrub up in.

Today is the three-month anniversary of Haiti’s devastating earthquake.  Relief efforts continue and continue and continue… (3 min CNN video below, also at

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Theirs is a build from the bottom future.  Living in makeshift tent cities outside Port-au-Prince, they move into nicer “created for them” tent cities as the rainy season approaches.  Dirt and dust plague their living, soon mud will.  In stark contrast to my industrial with snippets of natural beauty setting, a barren treeless settlement is their new home, yet beauty of another kind pokes through: aid gushes in.  Coordinated international effort staffed by compassionate workers labors tirelessly.  The task is mammoth and seemingly endless.  So many to take care of, so many “must do’s” yet to do, so many worker bee armies that must coordinate and collaborate…so many, so many, so many.  Compassion is busy, beauty visits…it must make a difference for the Haitian people, it must breathe them life–hope cannot be abandoned if others work beside you to forge a better future.  Like a blossoming tree in a concrete landscape, the relief efforts surely remind them that new life is afoot.

So far, 2010 is a quaking year…each month has a new quake casualty: Haiti, Chile, Baja California.  I periodically pop in at looking to see…

The community of Taize, nestled in the hills of Burgundy, France posts a new prayer for quake victims on their website–noted below –on the 12th of each month, on the anniversary of the January’s Haiti quake.  They’ve included Chile this month.  Please join me in prayer for the souls of the traumatized, homeless, orphaned and for those who labor to bring healing and hope.  As spring blooming in an ugly city, may beauty bloom in the desolate, rubbled landscape of Haiti and may Beauty bloom in the hearts of those who dare to hope, who dare to seek God, in even this.

Christ of compassion, we entrust to you the victims of the earthquake in Haiti and also in Chile. May the Holy Spirit console those who are suffering and encourage those who are exhausted. We ask you to assist those who seek to bring relief and support those who commit their energies to reconstruction.*

May God be central to their efforts, may God be found in the wreckage, may God be found in hearts because…

*Permission granted to reprint: (c) Ateliers et Presses de Taizé, 71250 Taizé, France –
entire April prayer/worship at


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