Saturday, January 16, 2010

An Impactful blog by Owen Chastain II, Clean the World's IT Director

How blessed am I to live in this country?

The answer to that question is an obvious one, but my mind has a remarkable way of distorting the truth and obfuscating my reality.
Gratitude is an attitude. If it is to be, it is up to me. Those trite, oft-repeated sentences imply directions and offer a result. There are many things in my life that I'd like to change, and because I live in this country, I'm afforded the luxury of opportunity - the opportunity to take action in the hope that I can create a better tomorrow for me, my friends, my family, and my neighbors.

What a gift! It's a gift that comes without fail. The gift is surely delivered atop the waves of the bright morning sun each and every day. There are days when I open this precious gift and toss it aside like my three-year-old did when he bulldozed through dozens of neatly-wrapped presents just a few weeks ago. I am too-often guilty of overlooking the special offer of grace that is presented to me every morning, and I hastily look for a better one. I crawl through the hazy, grey fog of self-centeredness in a desperate search to find the thing... the *one* thing that might ease my transition into the uncertainty of adult life that coming day.

Today is a new day, and with the birth of the dawn comes another precious gift. The peace and silence in my house is deafening this morning, a world away from the despair and helplessness of our brothers and sisters in Haiti. The pictures are beyond words. The faces of the people are blank with panic. I feel for them. I want to help. I don't know what to do to help them. The pictures put a knot in my stomach. I am reminded of New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina. I was guilty for my good fortune, and the vacuum of powerlessness swept over me as the lake had surged over the levies. Was it really true that I was without power.? Was it really so that I couldn't make a darn bit of difference?

My primary responsibility at Clean the World is to keep our electronic doors open to the world. Every email, web request, and blog, whether represented by an electron or a wave of light, passes through our humble infrastructure and carries with it the possibility that those in need might know that we care, and more importantly, that we are sending help their way. I stand by ready to pounce in case of any problem as I know that every tick of the clock in an outage means certain delay in our production of hope. My part is a small one, not minor by any means, but the majority of my effort is expended in my comfortable, air-condition office. As we come near the first anniversary of the moment that this seed was planted, I am grateful that I was given the gift of opportunity on that day, and I take great serenity in knowing that my effort ripples across the world, and it's wake is being felt everywhere. But, alas, the ripple recedes into the tides, and the still water returns to the chasm of disease and despair.

Soap. I stared for a long time at the bar in my bathroom this evening. I was careful not to use but as little as was possibly necessary when getting my children ready for bed because I knew at that moment what a privilege it was to have it. I am honored to have it in my home. It will watch over me and my family many times today. Am I entitled to have it? Did I do something to justify such a blessing? No, I didn't, but because I was afforded this necessity, and because I paused just long enough to appreciate the magnitude of that gift the day this seed was planted, it is *my* responsibility to share it.

All of us here at Clean the World are working around the clock to deliver this precious life-giving soap to the people of Haiti in their greatest time of need. We need your help. This effort will be the marathon of all marathons. Your contribution will do unbelievable things in a place that the rest of the world has forgotten until now.

I didn't believe it myself either at first... but as surely as I type this to you today, it has happened, and it continues to happen. When you open your gift this morning, take an extra moment to ponder the possibilities, and believe in your soul that you were unquestionably the one that was supposed to receive it.

May God be with you today, and may God be with the people of Haiti.

Owen Chastain II
IT Director


Anonymous Matt Gomez said...

Owen - Well-stated. Thanks for putting your thoughts on "digital paper." Just proves that even IT guys can write if they do so with passion. ;-)

Soap is something many of us take for granted. Like clean water. And faith and freedom. Many countries, and their people, do not experience these gifts. Thanks for reminding us of their value.

And with this reminder comes help us advance the mission of Clean the World and help place the power to help and heal in the hands of many. We'll even use technology to help get it done... Help Clean the World as we compete to win a $25K Pepsi Refresh grant.

Vote online at and text 101319 to Pepsi (73774). Do it each day in August (time is running out). Encourage friends and family to do the same. Remember that each vote helps move us closer to the goal of getting lifesaving soap in the hands of children and families who need it most.

Thanks for helping us Clean the World.

August 29, 2010 at 9:23 AM  

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