A repost from the archive as friends and loved ones return from Haiti and sort through the raw and real and the American dream.
I’ve sat here for nearly an hour, trying to figure out what to say. I sort through this past ten days and don’t know what to think. I sit here, my emotions a strange combination of protective numb and completely raw. I don’t know if I should sleep or cry. I only know I don’t feel like I expected to feel.
This orphanage has been a part of our lives for a few years and a huge part of our life for the past twelve months. I have lived it in other peoples stories and pictures and in my own mind I have dreamed of the day I would get to go. And now I’ve lived it for myself for eight days. Eight wonderful, hard, dirty, beautiful days. And I guess I just expected to feel differently today. But I honestly don’t know how I feel yet. Just that numb rawness. How do those two even co-exist?
I sort laundry and I sort memories. I wash out Haitian dirt and pray to never wash out Haiti memories. Those kids. Their laughs. The singing. The cheers every time our truck pulled into the compound. The food distribution. Two hundred people with nothing, showing us around their village, showing us their homes. Two hundred voices lifted in praise to God so thankful we have come. We leave rice and beans to fill their stomachs for a few days, maybe a week? They have filled our hearts for a lifetime. The crazy trips into town. The traffic. The wild driving. The stories of Matt driving the Isuzu. Pterodactyl. The dirt that you can never get off your skin for very long. The three minute cold showers that felt better than my ten minute hot showers at home. Taking some of the kids up to the beach. Water like I’ve never seen before – green-blue wonder. Haiti is so beautiful….why do they not develop that? That old woman on the side of the road. What becomes of someone like that in a country like that? The beauty of this people amidst all this poverty. Knowing that it is their poverty that makes them love Jesus all the more.
I think of meals with the team and laughing and new friendships formed and all of the strange references I’ve heard that finally make sense, have context. I think of Stan’s message on Sunday and Daniel’s passionate translation and the looks on the faces of those Haitians as they heard bagpipes probably for the first time ever. I think of Nicole’s testimony and how it tapped some deep well of emotion. I think of crying on the porch of the medical clinic with Matt as I try to process all of these feelings amidst all of the fatigue.
I think of all those little companions I had for eight days. A dozen shadows everywhere I went. I think of Liknay and how he nearly drove me crazy, but somehow I miss his ornery face. I think of Misterline and Camberry and Adline and Miliane and Stella. Those sweet girls and how they cried when it was time for us to go and I wonder do they still hope for a family or do they believe they have run out of time, that this is their life? I think of beautiful Shela and the mama she is to my girl and how I know it tears her heart out that one day Amania won’t be there anymore and yet she loves her well.
I think of meeting my girl for the first time. Shyness. Tentative love. How she warmed up to me but stayed cool toward Matt. I think of yesterday morning and how she cried so hard before school Nicole let her stay with us until we had to leave. I think of sitting there at the table, her on my lap, just counting down the minutes, wanting to get this band-aid ripped off, so to speak, get the leaving over with because I know it’s going to be hard, but I have no idea how hard. I think of her starting to say softly “kay” in Creole and pointing outside. We ask the social worker there what does this mean. And he tells us “kay” means house, home. And I feel my heart break into a million pieces. I think of going outside and her pointing to that truck, begging through her tears for us to put her on it, to take her with us and having to tell her no, that she must stay and praying to God she trusts us when we say we will come back for her. I think of literally peeling her off of me and getting on that truck with my head low so I can’t see her, thankful that the loud motor of the Isuzu helps drown the sound of her tears. I think of Matt weeping as he has to leave his little girl there, unable to do what men are made to do – protect, provide.
And here I still sit…raw and somewhat numb. A good tired. A good overwhelmed. One cannot have these experiences and not be changed. The effects of the fall are so obvious in a place like Haiti. Here we gloss over them. We make our sin shiny and clean looking. There man’s brokenness is undeniable, in your face, unavoidable. Even though I feel somewhat numb, I do not want to become numb to what I saw, heard, smelled, felt. God is at work. He is on the move. I want to be part of whatever He is up to, even if it means having my heart shattered time and again because that is what He has done for us.
For His Glory ~
* originally posted February 10, 2012