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In the split second my eyes snapped forward and saw the white car rushing up to meet us, the piercing squeal of skidding tires filled me with instantaneous panic. A moment later, I heard shattering glass and my head slammed into the seat in front of me. Then, silence.
Less than an hour earlier, sitting in a lounge chair with my toes curling in the sand, I had been thinking about how grateful I was for this day at the beach, surrounded by my friends. As I listened to the waves crashing on the shore and watched the sun slowly sinking in the sky, it occurred to me that it had been hours since I had thought about work, or our safety, or death, or any of the other things that I worry about here. We had swam, and joked, and jumped on the floating trampoline, and shoved each other into the water, and I had laughed harder than I had laughed for longer than I could remember. I felt like a kid. I knew we had to go back to work tomorrow, but I was happy to have a day out of Tabarre, away from the dust and the walls and the chaos and the sadness. I was happy just to be here, with people that I had grown to love in the past few months.
Although it’s true everywhere that the line between life and death is thin, in Haiti, for some reason it often seems even more tenuous. We were fortunate that day. The aftermath of the crash could have been much more serious; somebody could have been critically injured, or worse. But we all walked away, and the accident gave me the opportunity to once again be grateful for everything we have here, and to remember why I wanted to come here in the first place. The frustration and fatigue I had been feeling for the past few weeks suddenly seemed insignificant. There will always be challenges in life, no matter where in the world you live; one of the biggest challenges is simply to remain aware of all that you’ve been given. To have the ability to work hard at things that matter to you and to love people unconditionally—if you are still able to do these things, you are living well.
by Katie Lawler on December 18, 2014
Be sure to check out Katie’s personal blog @http://katiemarielawler.blogspot.com/ for more regular updates on her life and work at the Saint Damien’s Pediatric Hospital in Tabarre, Haiti.