Tonight as I was sending confirmation emails to my babysitters and writing instructions and information on caring for my children, it hit me. I'm going to Haiti in two days. I think I'm really going this time. And then my heart started to beat faster. If I really expect to go, will that jinx my trip and something will happen? (I don't really believe that, but I also don't want to take any chances.)
Here's the deal. This trip is a really big deal to me. I haven't been back to Haiti in two years. Two very long years. I didn't want to go with a team, because when you lead a team, you want and need to be available to them and what they need to process their experience. I don't have that to give right now, I'm trying to process my own issues with my ministry in Haiti, I can't help anyone else right now.
Loving Haiti the way I do is difficult for me because my daily life doesn't allow for the dedication, attention, and time I want to give it. I don't have a lot of space or time to keep connected to the latest news. Any parent can tell you that getting on the phone sends a secret signal to your children. They need you right now, they are fighting, they need help in the bathroom, they're hungry, they fall down and are screaming. Phone calls are hard in my house. Try it sometime and give me a ring. See how long it lasts. So doing ministry during the day can be an issue. Taking three kids out to the store to research needs and donations is almost like an Olympic event. My children's pictures live on our computer. Its true. My oldest is five and our first family photo went up this year. I am really bad at printing and posting, and framing pictures, so all my Haiti pictures live next to my children's on the computer. On a daily level, there is not much evidence of my love for Haiti unless you can see into my heart and hear our family's prayers. But that doesn't mean that it isn't one of the greatest loves of my life.
I have the honor of serving on a board of incredible people who also love Haiti. At times I watch how their commitment to this place and these people and their daily interaction far exceeds mine and I feel lost. Left behind per say. Having a husband and three children keeps me busy in a different way. The board of the HMP is filled with go getter's. We are crazy busy, but mine has a different rhythm, and that makes me feel alone. With that being said, it has left me in the last couple years trying to find my ground. Trying to figure out what my role is in all of this. To serve with friends who can do far more than I can. To love a country and a people that I feel I neglect in more ways than one is hard to live in.
So that brings me back to, I get to go to Haiti in two days. People ask what I'm going for, and my honest answer is, I don't know. I just know I need to be there. I have some great things lined up, but I don't have a big mission that I need to accomplish. All I really know is that a country I have been in love with for years has experienced some truly horrific things in the past year and I just need to be there. It was torture to cancel our trip last Jan. Even worse to be pregnant and know that I couldn't help in anyway possible. It was the worse feeling I've ever had. I need to go. I need to see my friends. I need to see Haiti. I need to feel Haiti. I need to breathe Haiti. I need to rediscover Haiti. My country has changed, and I want to meet her again. To get to know the new Haiti.
So how am I preparing? I'm not really sure. I am afraid of having expectations that won't be met. How do you get rid of expectations if you don't even know you have them? I'm pretty sure I'm guarding my heart because I don't know what to expect. I do know I am afraid of feeling more lost when I leave Haiti then when I show up. What can I do to help? How do I live my role in life and love Haiti? What I can count on is that God is already there.
I remember two years ago waking up at dawn in Haiti. The very first light of dawn was breaking, and I thought, I want to see the sun rise. I went up on the roof wrapped in my sheet and sat down. I didn't do a lot of praying, I just sat there soaking in what God does when he awakens a new day. Did you know that from the first light of dawn till the sun actually comes up it takes over an hour? Truly that long. I couldn't believe how long it took, but it was breathtaking. On one of my road trips last year to Ohio I was driving with my kids in the car and we started our trip at 4am. Driving east, I watched the sun come up on a very clear day. It was incredible to experience the same sun. The same hour of waiting from dusk till daybreak. It was the same incredible sun. The same God who controls it. He is there and he is here.
Going to Haiti feels like going home. I've been gone from home for a very long time. I am excited, nervous, anxious, and more than anything so peaceful. I get to go home.