When I was first approached to write this edition's CSGA Connection, I planned to write a letter about hope. My first thought was to ask my good friend, who lives on St. Maarten, if I could interview her about the situation her family has been dealing with since the hurricane. Unfortunately, when I went to ask her if she could speak with me over the phone she indicated she was far too busy. She was too busy helping her neighbor clean mud from her shop in Simpson Bay.
At first, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to share her story. I realized, however, this interaction was the epitome of hope, perseverance, patience, selflessness, and grit. No one would begrudge the people of St. Maarten if they packed up and left; if they said, “that’s enough, we’ve gone through enough and it’s time to leave.” Everyone would nod in understanding.
Barbara De Angelis said, “We don’t develop courage by being happy everyday. We develop it by surviving the difficult times and challenging adversity.” That is exactly what everyone who remains in St. Maarten embodies. Instead of lamenting her situation, she is working to help herself and her community rebuild; to help her community have hope.
Hopefully her life helps us have perspective. Hopefully we can take strength from her actions. Hopefully we can learn about the human condition. And above all, hopefully, in the face adversity, we can learn from the people of St. Maarten, and support each other.
I’m a better person for having lived in St. Maarten, and I can only hope in the same situation I would make the same sacrifices the amazing people of St. Maarten are making daily.
In Awe of the power of the human spirit,
Steven Clark, MD Candidate