Its been a number of years since I watched the news regularly. Since my brother graduated from RMC and any news of deaths in Afghanistan made me tear up. However, if something big was going on usually I’d tune in to make sure I was an up-to-date citizen of the world.
I’ve probably watched less than a minute of coverage of the earthquake in Haiti.
The thing is, every image, every story, that we bear witness to stays with us. It becomes a part of what we carry. We can manage the effect it has on us and how much we remember, but it adds to our load. Maybe a heavy weight, maybe only a little, but you carry it with you.
In my new role as a counsellor, I hear a lot of stories. Terrible, sad, what is wrong with the world stories. My load has gotten a lot heavier. Some days I can see clearly the light and the hope, some days I can’t stand under the weight. I trust that I will get better at bearing these burdens as I learn and grow.
What would be the point of making this weight any heavier than it needs to be? Could I still contribute to aid for Haiti without knowing the details? Yes. Would my knowing the details help them any? No.
My lack of knowledge about this disaster might lead some to believe that I am ignorant. But something in me tells me that I need to protect my heart. This is not my trauma to bear witness to right now. I have another role.