Oh, but it's foul outside! Windy and wet, the bare branches of great trees whipping back and forth against a grey sky, rain pelting the windows as if someone were tossing handfuls of pebbles against them.
But it's nice in here, with music playing and a few well-placed cats scattered about the living room to block drafts. Working at home is one of the sweetest privileges the world of work confers, but it's even nice in more usual workplaces today, I have learned in several phone conversations this morning: my daughter is glad to be in her classroom, more so than is usual on a Monday. The dentist's secretary called to confirm, and volunteered how happy she was to be at her desk instead of outside. Mary says she just about blew over wheeling her trashcan back from the curb, and is glad to be back inside.
It is sunny and warm in Port-au-Prince today, as it is most days. Shelter from the rain is not needed today. I suppose this is a blessing, in a place where blessings have been few and far between lately. But a roof over the heads of families with many children and grandparents, uncles, aunts, a safe place to sleep, some food and clean water, a doctor, a place to bury the dead, a moment of privacy in which to absorb the horror of all that has happened -- these are in short supply. The world's attention has been riveted on the tragedy for two weeks now, but that's going to taper off in the next few days. Haiti will no longer be news. No story lasts for very long among us. We have a short attention span.
But work will continue. It must. It must continue for decades. And the church will keep talking about it, because we must. Somebody has to, so we will. We will add it to the rosary of sorrows for which we work and pray. It was not the world's first tragedy and will not be the last, but it is ours now, as well as theirs.
Bp. Duracin of the Diocese of Haiti and many clergy and laypeople are caring for about 23,000 displaced persons in a football field in the city. You can view a video produced by the Wall Street Journal about our work in this emergency camp at www.er-d.org.