Friday, August 20, 2010

Paranoia, Shame and Guns

I need to preface this blog post. One, I have been reading a lot of Kerouac, so if this is written in a more-erratic-that-usual style, let's blame him. Two, this is most assuredly darker than Katie's previous posts, but it is truthful. That counts for something, right? Three, if you are questioning after reading one and two then you can stop. It's cool with me.

Sunday there was school dinner for all of the faculty and staff. They fed us Domino's pizza. No small feat when you consider the bellies they had to fill and the near $20 cost for a pie. Man, that pizza tastes just like it does in the states. What a treat.

At the dinner, our friend Rich told me about his GSW this summer. During a robbery in a rough(er) part of town he took a round to his leg. It was not too serious, bullet went straight through, but he did lose a lot of blood. There are many amazing parts of his story. One, the guy who drove him to the hospital was a Christian too and knew of Rich's ministry. He just happened to be at the intersection were Rich got hit. Second, after some rehab in the States Rich is back here, ready to minister. Furthermore, the triage work was done with him awake. If I took a bullet and was getting triage, I would be politely begging to be completely anesthetized. I think I would be losing my mind. Rich says he stayed calm and awake the whole time, even initially bandaging the wound on his leg in the truck while he was being driven to the hospital.

I asked a group of young men if they thought they could do the same. Did they think they possessed the faith and the conviction in what they were doing to take a round and come back for more? Answers varied. My favorite reaction was from a guy who said, "It would depend on what my wife wanted to do." True that.

Being blunt, honest and vulnerable-I don't know if I could do it. I probably wouldn't. I don't know what Katie would want to do. I credit what Rich and his wife are doing to their faith. I don't think I have that kind of faith, and I feel very ashamed by that.

I got home Sunday and Rich's story seeped into my head like a prion. At 9:30 I had to check our first aid kits. The small travel sized one for cuts. The larger one for more serious wounds. I unpacked them, evaluated them. Shifted things around. Repacked them.

I realized that I am paranoid. Disaster paranoid. That might be one of the lasting effects of my earthquake experience.

To be clear, I am not paranoid of the disaster itself. Goodness, this is Haiti. There are going to be hurricanes, mudslides, election violence, quakes. TIH. It happens. Whatever. I am paranoid about not being prepared for it; a little OCD about being prepared for the next calamity.

The most shameful part is that I don't think anyone else in my circle of missionary friends would bat an eye about any of these things. The robberies, civil unrest, natural disasters- I don't think it phases them. The 3 missionaries I admire most are too steadfast and faithful to be as nutty as I am. Steve, Corrigan and John wouldn't consider leaving. They have not left even in the worst of times. I am racked with self-doubt about if I could do the same.


  1. I don't think a first aid kit stashed here and there demonstrates lack of faith. I think your mom would agree with me. Disasters change people. But so does Jesus.

  2. I agree with Abby and grateful for your authenticity. Praying for you both and the school.

  3. Hi Ben,
    You wouldn't know me from Adam, or Eve for that matter. I've been reading your blog ever since the DMN (think it was them?) ran a story about you. I subscribed to your RSS feed then. I'm so impressed by yours and Katie's strength and your faith in the Lord that I read ALL your posts.

    I work in law enforcement. We have a universal agreement that only morons aren't scared in the face of danger. If anybody tells you that they aren't terrified in a tight situation, they're lying.

    What you are doing in your own head right now is GETTING PREPARED. You're running scenarios in your imagination and slowly but surely planting seeds for the BIG IDEA you might need to grab onto some day to save your own or someone else's life.

    You're thinking all sorts of "what if's" and "would that work's" right now, correct? That's great! You might need those ideas later. Embrace the paranoia, my friend. God gave it to us for a reason.

    Knowing this won't make you feel too much better, maybe, but at least you won't think you're crazy -or a coward.

  4. "With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity."
    -Keshavan Nair

    I feel that you, Katie, and everyone there are taking risks everyday to serve the people of Haiti. While you have so many "what if's", it prompts you to continually move forward, and trust in God and His provision. The very fact that you both went back demonstrates your courage. You have so many folks here in the states praying for you all. Keep looking up so as not to miss GIA - God in action.

  5. You are one of the bravest people I know! Are there others in the world who are even braver? Probably, but don't weigh yourself against them. God knows you and every tiny little flaw you possess and he loves you passionately.

    Please accept this woman's opinion that you are one brave, amazingly wonderful human being.

  6. Ben, our own truth takes us to places only the Lord Almighty can deal with, enlighten us, prepare us and yes make us aware of our humanity. As God said to Joshua,
    be of good courage.



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