In a good way ~ like removing a piece of your heart, losing sleep at night, struggling to survive the independent loneliness that is suburbia in America. I cannot tell you how many times that I have sat down attempting to write this. But, alas each time with the same result. I. have. no. words.
Except perhaps these that I wrote to my dear friend when she asked me how I was doing,
“Not well. Struggling, my friend, really struggling. I alternate between feeling utterly numb & so completely raw that at any moment I could totally lose it & fall apart. I constantly feel myself slipping & when I try to grab a hold of something it seems like the world is just spinning on without me. Not sure how to re-engage. Not sure I even want to at this point. I don’t know what to do with Haiti. When I have attempted the few times to share what God has revealed to me through Haiti, I only feel the chasm get deeper & wider between me and the people we have attempted to do life with. But life goes on. And so will I. Somehow. Just one moment at a time. One breath. Tired of feeling so alone. Just in such desperate need to let our life speak into others as they speak into us. To live well and love extravagantly. Thanks for asking……”
And then kiddos scream in the other room. And sandwiches are waiting to be cut into crazy shapes. (Really? Who started that nonsense?). And the spinning doesn’t necessarily stop. I just have to place my hand on the wall to steady myself. To let it lead me down the hall. To my precious littles. For a moment I blink hard, and I am really back. Here. Now. With them. Then I blink slowly, and I see the wreckage & trash, I smell the burning, I hear the booming music & the blaring horns, and I lose my footing. I am there. Again. I am watching the most beautiful sunset over the water as we speed by yet another “city” of tents. Hell on earth, yet full of joy & hope.
And how can I survive being here? And there? How will my heart endure? How can I make sense of this? And how will I utter what exists only in the heavenlies?
But then I was asked to speak to a young moms’ group about my trip. And the heavens came down & glory filled my soul. He spoke. And there was minimal blubbering on my part. And now there is a crack in the dam. Just not sure whether there will be more words or tears rushing out.
And then these people went, and they invited some of my favorite bloggers on an inaugural blog tour. And the bloggers wrote. Jen wrote this and this and this and this. Sarah wrote this and this and this and this and even more. Jennie wrote this and this and this. And their words have given me courage to try yet again. But wait, no. Their words have stolen my thunder, because dang if they didn’t say what I have been thinking, feeling, losing sleep over. But then again, it was never my thunder in the first place. It belongs to him. And the precious people of Haiti.
And while I am not a famous writer or blogger. Nor am I even a minister’s wife. No. I am just a simple stay at home mom & wife to a drilling engineer with a handful of faithfuls who read my thoughts regularly. And I was not invited on a trip to contribute my insight and influence to the needs of our brothers & sisters in Haiti. No. I was just asked by a friend to love on a village. And no, I didn’t receive a guided tour, except on the back of a speeding moto driven by a local villager. But, nonetheless, I went. And I know that I must continue to let “my life speak.” No matter how small the effect or how hard the effort.
So now when my friend asks me how I am doing, this is what I say, “I am getting back in the swing of things which causes both relief & sadness. I mourn that woman who lived in Haiti for a week. Truly lived. Shared life with people. And I dream of something more. Here. In this place. But I have never been the best at counter-cultural life. I always cave, even against my own convictions, especially without Christian friends who share your passions & desires.”
You see, it’s not that I dislike life in America. I just don’t like ME in America. I am weak. I don’t follow through on ideas & callings. I give in to materialism & the American dream. I cut my daughter’s sandwiches into stars for crying out loud. I am tempted to plan elaborate birthday parties for my girls. And don’t kid yourselves. It is not for them. It is the sinful, prideful desire to impress other people. To perhaps win. I don’t even know at what. Perhaps mother of the year. But if you could spend a few moments as a fly on my wall, it would be painfully obvious that I lost that prize ages ago along with my temper.
When all I really want to do is sit around huge metal bowls of sudsy water, scrubbing greasy Haitian dishes listening to Brit, Lacey and Matt doing there Russian bit for hours. Laughing till my face is marked with tears & my stomach aches. Or stroke Cami’s arm during church. Or hold babies while their mamas take a much needed break. Or listen to Mama Blanc’s smooth “smoker” voice tell stories of his glory in Haiti. Or dance when the music comes on. Or just be. There. Free from Pinterest, Facebook, the constant quest for happiness in things, and the pressure to sign my little kids up for endless activities every night.
I just want to live. Share life with people. Only when I call, they aren’t available. Or when they call, I’m not. And. It. Ticks. Me. Off. In a righteous indignation kind of way. And I fear that even if I somehow find the strength to fight the busy, constantly going here & there but landing nowhere way of life in this culture, I will be standing in the ring alone. And the crowd will be cheering for me to fall. To be knocked out.
Only a few months home and already I have jumped back on the spinning merry go round. And the BIG kids are pushing it. Way too fast. Holding on with white knuckles & bracing my thighs against the bars, I desperately scan the blurry landscape for someone, anyone, who I could grab hold of to help me get off. Either I am too dizzy to see them or they have already left the playground. Desperate. I turn my attention to the smiling faces enjoying the thrill of the ride. Pleading with my eyes for someone to just give me a push. For I am not brave enough to jump on my own.
So, dear friends, I simply do not know what to do with Haiti. Except perhaps pack up my love & my littles and get on a jet plane. I am haunted by my memories, my love and my sorrow for Haiti. And, I am not sure which scares me most. Being there or trying to survive being here.
But first, I must practice up on my “Dougie.”
(As you can probably tell, this is only the first of many posts about my experiences loving & being loved by my Haitian family).