Monday, September 22, 2008

Be Content, But Make a Difference

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or living in want.” Philippians 4:12

I want to be a difference maker. At the end of my life I want people to say that my life made a difference. I fall so short on so many occasions. But I want to strive to be better.

Yesterday, I spent half of my day with my new friend Robert. He is really a friend of the museum. But he is also a difference maker to me. On the fourth day of his honeymoon, Robert and his wife left where they were and came to the TCI to help clean up one of the smaller cays where his family has had a home for many years. He brought the museum down a generator when he came and sent me several boxes of powdered Gatorade and some lights to pass out to people. Yesterday, he flew over for three hours to see Grand Turk and to bring me some relief. “What do you need?”

What do you need? This is a question that I always ask Joseph whenever I return to the states. The first time I asked the girls on my staff this question the answers were an Ipod, a laptop, and movies. These were the only things they will ever get from me. Joseph tells me what he needs. And I have never heard Joseph complain about anything, ever.

What we need is relative. It is relative to what we have become conditioned to expect. When I say we have lost all our clothes, what I mean is that I have had to do 40 loads of laundry to save 80% of our clothes. When Joseph says he lost all of his clothes he is holding two pair of pants that he saved and three of Martin's t-shirts that I gave him. Grand Turk is in a state where it is too hard for my family to be here, but our neighbors Rhoda and Rupert are living in the exact same condition with their 5 kids including a one-year-old baby.

“What do you need?” I need drinking water, cash, and something to lift peoples spirits. Robert brought me an emergency water filter pump. He brought more batteries. He brought parts to fix a broken generator. He brought 12 fresh steaks. He brought me a great deli sandwich and a cup of coffee. He also left me all the cash he had. To some this would be little. To some this would a lot. Yesterday it made a difference.

I have been operating on the trickle down theory of relief. What I get, I try and spread as far as I can. Robert and I tracked down Kenlove and gave him some money to make sure he and his young sisters were ready when school starts next week. We took the steaks over to Allesio and Jackie's house. They are planning a grill party for tonight. We filtered nine gallons of drinking water out of my catchment. Joseph took two gallons, he has had a problem getting water as well. I think he also provides for his cousin. When I share what I have with Joseph, I think he also shares his share with her.

Last night we opened the museum wet lab for a musician's jam. We have one of the few buildings not really affected by the storm. It was not advertised, but as word of mouth got around about 30 people showed up to listen and drink rum. This was the first time some people have played since Hannah more than three weeks ago. We played from 8:00 until 1:00am. It was a good night for everyone. A night surrounded by people where I felt very alone.

I hope that in the end it makes a difference that I am here. I miss my family. They are what I need. But, I am content in this situation.

No comments: