Tuesday, April 16, 2013

As written from Le Xaragua in Haiti

It's April 13, 2013 at 10:44 p.m. 

We ate dinner on the veranda outside tonight - the sea lapping behind us. I walked down to the railing to take pictures and just look and talk to my soul. 

I watched the waves (for about 5.5 minutes) and went to walk away.

"Why don't you be still awhile longer?"

I've been in such a hurry lately and I keep saying, "Such-and-such feels surreal." But now I feel a little bit numb and I need the surreal feeling to pass. I need to live in this moment.

So while I was watching the sea and listening to the waves, I tried to see myself as other people say they see me. I'm on the Caribbean Sea in Haiti, on a reporting assignment, living my mission and making connections."

There's power in being still. It's a courageous act, to press your fingertips against Earth's dizzying orbit and will your spirit to absorb all the goodness, the heartbreak, the triumph, or the stillness in each moment. 

I didn't get a chance to ready myself for Haiti. Sure, I had everything packed. Shampoo, conditioner, my traveling pharmacy, clothes, notebook, cameras....but my mind and spirit weren't ready. Parts of me were still in Kentucky, where I'd been three days before leaving for Haiti. Pieces of me were grieving my friend's death, and still others were memorializing tragedy, and all the while I was running down my mental to-do list. 

"Why don't you be still awhile longer?"

I allowed myself to breath in the ocean air, to let the waves take away my anxiety, my striving, my grief, my turmoil. I just stood there.

I just stood in the doorway of a room where a 34-year-old-man is dying of mastesized cancer in his shoulder. 

I just stood on a stairway photographing a team of missionaries praying for an old woman with a badly broken leg who is surely dying in the home of a generous stranger.

I just stood in a school built by a pastor and his wife in a Haitian "ghetto" after they observed that the children they were feeding were not getting an education. 

I just stood in a hospital courtyard while Death came knocking and claimed the life of a 13-year-old boy.

I just stood in orphanages and absorbed the love radiating from the children who hugged and laughed with the team.

And while I stood and raised my camera or poised my pen, my mantra swirled around me:

Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.

It's a courageous act, but if we're not willing to see, to hear, to touch, and to allow our souls to break with the hurting, the dying, the impoverished, will change ever come?

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.” - William Wilberforce 


Kristin Hill Taylor said...

Standing still is brave. I'm so proud of you for chasing your dreams, although that's probably the easier part. I'm proud of you for working hard, walking out of your comfort zone, and trusting God.

Mike Erwin said...

I love this post. The hardest thing on Earth is to stand. When you are facing a need you can't possibly meet, or a pain you can't possibly relieve, and the only thing you can do is stand next to those who must walk through such places... that is truly difficult.

That is also truly loving. It is an honor to watch you living your mission and giving a voice to the voiceless.