We’ve arrived back in Indy after only having been gone for 8 days, but things are not the same as they were a little over a week ago. A lot of simple things cause me to pause and think a lot more than I did before, and a lot more than I thought they would.
I went on a bike ride with my daughter Nora early Tuesday morning, the morning after we got back, and I thought about how a simple thing like a decently level sidewalk in my neighborhood, absent of rubble, was something to be thankful for. It was weird to not see people out and about, or tents in front of houses. A week ago I didn’t think of my neighborhood a super spacious, but it seems so spacious now. There are yards, not tents. Even the houses that aren’t super well-kept seem like mansions. No one here that I pass by on my bike, including myself, understands what it’s like to be afraid to sleep or even be inside their home. Later, I sat in my living room and thought about how incredibly humongous a 1400 sq. ft. house really is for 4 people. I could go on and on… Everything I see, everything I eat, everything I read, everything I enjoy, and do throughout the day is something that I’m seeing through a different lens. Today it rained. It was one of those storms that come all at once, a downpour that drenched everything before you know its upon you. How crazy is it to have a dry, cool place to take shelter from a hot summer thunderstorm? I know many of my brothers and sisters in Haiti don’t have the same luxury. Their stuff is drenched as they wait out a sleepless night in a hot tent.
I’ve been thinking about how great it is that I have the baby formula to be ale to feed Macy multiple times a day, while many of my brothers and sisters in Haiti do not. I’ve been thinking about the jar of peanut butter that I spread on crackers for a between meal snack for my daughter Nora, while for some in the tent cities in Grand Goave, a jar of peanut butter is the only source of protein that a whole family may have for a few days. I’ve been thinking about how strange and weird it is for my family to own two cars, while the thought owning any vehicle is a far reality for many of my brothers and sisters in Haiti. How crazy is that?
The experience that many of us shared for the time we spent in Haiti has caused me to really think differently about my stuff. I keep asking myself the question “How much really is enough?” But beyond just my stuff, there have been other things that I’ve been processing and thinking through that is hard to put into words…. spiritually, emotionally, intellectually…
It’s pretty crazy how much you can learn from the familiar, everyday things that you go through, even those things that seem “normal” or “routine” or “unspectacular.” Sometimes it takes a worldview-shaking experience to get you to be able to see the simple things God is shouting at you all along. I’m thankful for those times in my life. On Sunday morning at the Lifeline Church that we were a part of, one of the scripture readings was from Psalm 103. In reading something familiar, in hearing it read in Creole from the lips of those who had seen so much, suffered so much, endured so much and yet still praised our God I heard it again for the very first time…
1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children-
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
I know the processing that we’ll all do and that needs to be done from this experience has just begun, and my prayer is that I will able to continually say, Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. If home is where your heart is, I’m not quite sure what that means for how I’m seeing my earthly home these days. I find my heart-broken and burdened for a place far from my physical home here in Indy. I’m thankful that for those of us here, and for my brothers and sisters in Haiti, and for the ways that I’ve been wrecked for the Kingdom this past week. May our true home be found as we rest in God and His leading. I’m praying that I hold what I’ve been given with an open hand, that it’s used for the sake of the Kingdom for the short time I’ve been given. After all…
“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him…” Psalm 103:15-17