I’m sitting here at the airport in Port Au Prince, Haiti. I arrived here quite a bit early so I have some time to sit here and think. It seems I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. I woke up early this morning and it seems that before the sun even rose I knew that the word for this day would be bittersweet. I have been here in Haiti for almost 2 weeks and in that short time I’ve been moved beyond words. Now it’s time to go back home for a while, which is sweet in every way but also a bit sad because I will miss the people that I have grown to love in such a short time.
Tonight I will arrive back in Canada. The cold air will welcome me. The Christmas lights will twinkle hello as I pass them by, reminding me of the quickly approaching celebration. I will not be in the minority any more and I will understand the words people are speaking around me. I will return to a country of order where you must have a seatbelt if you are riding in a car, the price on something to be purchased is set, not bartered and I must travel a great distance to see beautiful mountains.
As I traveled the Haitian roads this morning for the last time, for a while at least, I tried to take in everything I saw, every person, every glimpse of the homes, of the vehicles, of the mountains and the sea because I never want to forget it. I never want to forget that there is another part of the story. That my home and the places I know and the faces I see every day and the way we live is not the whole story. There is another part and God knows it, He created it and He cares for it. I want to celebrate that my part of the story is only a very miniscule piece of the puzzle. I want to celebrate that there is a big world out there and it breaks down every wall of my box. It breaks down every thought I have about how I think things should be and it challenges the boundaries of my faith.
I was talking with one of the Haitians a few days ago, someone who has become my friend and I asked him why he loved Haiti? In the few English words he knew, he replied, “because I am Haitian”. I think for a long time I thought that my way of life was what everyone needs, what everyone should want and that thought too has been challenged during my time here. The people here love their country and they care for one another and they don’t NEED my way of life. My way is not better or the way it should be, my way of life is simply different, it’s just one part of the story. So, Lord please forgive me for thinking that I know better, for thinking that my way is better, rid me of thinking or even acting that I am and my way is superior. I wonder what would happen if I loved Canada and it’s people like my friend loves Haiti? I wonder what would happen if we as Canadians prayed for our country like the people at the Church of Hope pray for their country? I have a lot to learn from the people here.
I hope that someday I’ll be able to return to Haiti but until then I have a million memories that leave me with feelings of the best kind of nostalgia. I will cherish these and treasure them in my heart without fail.
Haiti has been one of the sweetest gifts, one that will always captivate a piece of my heart.
And today, throughout the tangled web of my feelings I think the biggest one I feel is thanksgiving. There is so much I have to be thankful for and for right now it’s the one I’m going to revel in because the other stuff will unravel itself with time.
So thank you for your prayers and your thoughts especially over the past 2 weeks, it’s been an incredible adventure and I look forward to many more to come!
Blessings on you today,