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I don’t sleep well when there is a global catastrophe. It’s as if my psyche were in silent vigil for the living and dying who are struggling to find their way within the grip of nature’s fury. Images of bodies lying in the twisted rebar or washed up on broken, angry beaches, families standing on rain-soaked rooftops, children searching solo for anything familiar: they trouble me. They flood over airwaves as I sit, comfortably and uncomfortably, transfixed before my cable news network. I don’t want to watch. I don’t want to know, but my soul does. It does not forget for a second. My ventures into social media provide distraction; Amy’s daughter lost a tooth, Jeff got a job, theatre openings/closings, and plenty of go-team-go. Then there are the postings, the pleas for $10 worth of help, which makes me feel more helpless. All I can do is send a paltry sum? Will that get the planes there faster? Will that stop the voices crying out from inside the concrete rubble? The answer is yes. And…yes. That may be all I can do from the comfort of my uncomforted zone, but deep within my sleepless psyche there is work to be done.
I am heartened by the massive funds collected click-by-ten-buck-click, enraged by the perspicacious insights of the religiously insane. Treaties with France and pacts with Satan aside, the world is harsh and cruel and that will never change. When I see the film of Haitian people, who have never had much but have lost it all, grateful to be alive to live another day in poverty, I am brought to my knees, careful not to rip my jeans. (They cost me over half the yearly wages of the average Haitian.)
The problems of Haiti are long-standing and legendary. They will not be reversed in a day, or in a generation. The road of reconstruction is long and hard, the path of re-invention, harder. Like our native sons and daughters of New Orleans, the spotlight of their plight will shift, cameras turning toward the next true or false calamity, and they will be left alone together. What is left is the opportunity to rebuild, the responsibility to recreate, and that is to be shared by all with equal measure. We can send our money and our troops; we can send our prayers and some well-meaning group will be collecting teddy bears, for that is what we’re made of.
I lose sleep hoping that our fruitful steps in times of overwhelming crisis will not melt into meaningless gestures of remembrance once the parade has passed. While we commit to fund and rebuild Haiti, let us also fund the bank account of our humanity. Let’s call on it daily, putting forth our best before disaster strikes.

I help people buy and sell houses in the Denver metro area, many of which are a hundred years old or more. As I help my clients prepare to list or to move, we find some interesting things in the attics and basements of these storied homes. My recent discovery was page 11 & 12 of the Sunday Denver Post dated December 27, 1931. It was a time of high unemployment and economic anxiety. Here’s a bit of the what’s up two days after Christmas nearly 78 years ago:
*Pasco Santana, called the PLATTE RIVER HERMIT took residence in a cardboard house near the Sixteenth Street viaduct. With his “Back to Nature” attitude he chose this location, feeling the city dwellers were the ones missing out. “The river is my best friend, even tho it doesn’t say anything and just keeps rolling along” (The neighborhood would be too crowded for Mr. Santana’s liking today, even among the cardboard crowd.)
*500 SALESMEN ATTEND MEETING- Sponsored by the market development committee of the Chamber of Commerce in an effort to acquaint Denver wholesale and manufacturing firms of their “Buy-it-in this-Market” program. (Just like mama said, everything comes in style again).
*JONES OPPOSES PLAN FOR JOB RELIEF- Senator Attacks Proposal of Direct Federal Aid to Feed Needy.
*POPE APPEALS FOR UNIFICATION OF CHRISTIANS- Seeks United Front for Fight Against Unbelief and Immorality.
*BATTLE IS OPENED ON SULLIVAN LAW- A bitter attack on the recent amendment to the Sullivan law requiring all persons carrying a revolver to be fingerprinted and photographed. The National Riffle Association went on record as favoring a repeal of the Sullivan law.
*DECLINE REPORTED IN FARM MORTGAGES
*FARM WASTES TOTAL 250 MILLION TONS…and so it goes.

Business meetings, battles over government funding of social programs, religions striving to reconcile, gun control, mortgage declines. A lot has changed in America, but this makes me wonder if we’re really just swimming in circles. For the readers of these pages in 1931 times were really, really tough. World War I had shown the atrocities of which modern man is capable, the economy was in the toilet, confidence in our government was shaky at best. But somehow, though those years and all that followed we have prevailed. We’ve taken small steps forward and “giant leaps for mankind”, getting better every day. If you don’t retain your sense of reason and a bit of the Pollyanna perspective, it certainly never will.
Today the Stock Market is up and the housing market is showing signs of return. Denver is rated #3 among the nation’s best cities to work and Gov. Ritter announced that REpower USA was relocating their headquarters from Oregon reinforcing Denver’s growth as an epicenter of renewable energy. Interest rates are low and banks are still lending to qualified buyers, there’s an $8000 tax credit for first-time buyers and down payment assistance programs have revamped and restarted. But many of us are still struggling. For those experiencing job loss, soaring medical bills, upside down mortgages of a pending foreclosure, the Pollyanna attitude is surely put to the test. Focus on the good in your life, get yourself back on good footing, call in help if you need it.
Today’s headlines are experienced differently by each of us. Whether you’re feeling like you’re headed for the cardboard box by the river, or you’re looking for a home overlooking it, as a real estate consultant I can guide you through these changing times. For however the economic moment is treating you… this too shall pass.