Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Explaining Haiti

As we flipped through the channels after dinner tonight, there were recurrent pictures of toppled buildings, rubble-strewn streets, and injured people. I wanted to stop and watch, but felt the need to explain it to Abigail somehow. How do you explain an earthquake to a four-year-old? How do you explain disasters, that people get hurt? How do you explain things that we (hopefully and more-than-likely) will never experience in the midwest?

Gently. Like a child. The reason being, that we need to pray for them. She may not understand much about such things, but she does understand prayer. I wish I understood prayer, the simple, pure, heartfelt prayer like she prays.

"Abigail, do you see these pictures on the tv? Something happened just yesterday. It happened in a country called Haiti. That is not in the United States of America. It is in the ocean, far away from here. It is called an earthquake. That is when the ground moves a lot under your feet. It causes buildings to fall down, and people get hurt."

Watching the tv footage, her brain was trying to make sense of it. "This happened outside of the tv? It happened in our world?"

"Mm-hmm. But not close to here. It happened in another country. But do you see how the buildings fell down? People were hurt. So, we need to pray for them and ask God to help them. We can pray for them at bedtime when you say your prayers."

"Okay. But maybe you can pray for them. I don't know what to say." She watched the tv some more. "That guy has blood on him. Maybe because a building fell and hurt him."

"Yeah, probably. It's okay, honey. You don't have to worry. We will pray for them tonight." I switched the channel to something of lighter fare, thinking she had seen enough for now.

"Mommy, can we pray for them now?"

"Sure, honey. Do you want me to?"

"No, I will. What's the name of the place where the people live again?"


"Dear God, thank you for this day and for our food. Thank you for Haiti. And please help the people in Haiti to be safe and healed so they won't bleed anymore. And help no more buildings to fall. Amen."

"That was a wonderful prayer, Abigail. Thank you for praying for them. We can keep praying for them for a while, not just one time."

"Yeah, because maybe they are sad. Or frustrated. But God will make them all better and heal them? And then maybe they can build new buildings where the ones fell down?"

"Yup. That is exactly what they will do. God will help them, and people will help them." I walked over to the couch and gave her a hug. "I love your heart, Abigail. It is a very kind heart and shows that you love God and love people."

Maybe explaining Haiti taught me more about my daughter's heart than I taught her.

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