We're back from our trip to south (waaaay south) Texas. We had a nice time, our kids especially seem to find the vacation life the way to go. Isaac and Noah could both be professional vacationers. They are very good at planning recreation, doing recreation, talking about recreation ... and lamenting recreation being finished.(5 of 6 of the iveys and i with six livesay kids - troy not pictured)
After five nights in South Texas with my parents we met up with our friends the Iveys and their church treated us to Sea World. (Thank You for that ASCC). Sea World. Wow, talk about American culture sort of "in your face". If you buy a bucket of popcorn for $72 when you bring the bucket back, they refill it for only $18 and your first born child. Man do those places know how to make money. At aforementioned popcorn stand when I showed my pass to try to get a 10% discount the lady scoffed and said, "No, that is a SEASON pass - you need an ANNUAL pass to get the discount." Of course I do. How could I be so stupid!? My favorite part of Sea World was Noah's utter and complete joy over Shamu. He was professing his love from the stands and even went as far as to yell to Shamu that he will never leave or forget him (Shamu, that is). Isaac LOVES this stuff ... like, loves it so much that I wonder how I will ever get him to leave America behind again. He is ALL about roller coasters and the party life. He started fretting about leaving Sea World a good hour before we even left. He hates the endings. As much as I poo-poo that stuff and am more than a little cranky about the extravagance and the expense ... the joy of my children is a blessing to me (as it is to you ... as it is to God) ... and I was totally blessed by their joy this weekend.
As far as truly stepping away from Haiti ... at times I found it hard to just "let it go" - In truth I don't want to "step away" from my friends in Haiti ... It just feels wrong. I did try - and succeeded in small patches at doing things other than reading Haiti news. The world kept spinning without my daily re-posting of everything Haiti. I intend to keep trying to be more balanced in my thoughts and actions. I will probably keep experiencing limited and patchy success.
One thing that hit me this week ... If I perceive that someone does not support our desire to go back to Haiti, even if they are simply sad and wish we could or would move back to the USA ... I avoid them.
I think we want everyone to totally get us, to get it, to understand why everything feels so disjointed and off for us right now. To not say "Why not enjoy a really long break? Just ENJOY it.How great is it that you get to be here?"
I need to keep reminding myself that I don't get things that other people are passionate about (Chiuaua rescue, Shakespeare, and politics just to name a few) and if they don't understand our love for that crazy place and all of its quirks - or our inability to quickly enjoy every moment of USA living --- it is not because of anything sinister or unloving. It just is.
We've recently (with the help of a friend) coined the phrase "The resentment" - also known simply as "T.R." This is the deep and somewhat (or entirely?) irrational dislike for anyone who gets to be in Haiti right now. "T. R." is amplified if they are with our friends, doing "our" jobs, or sleeping in our bedrooms. Now, you might be saying to yourself - "Come on guys, it is helping the Haitian people that you claim to love so much - how can you be resentful? How old are you, six?" - And in response we would say, "We WERE six once - and yes, you are right - we want good people to do good things for Haitian people -- but also - yes - we are immature and jealous and a bit resentful that it is them and not us." So be it. We're confessing. It seems T.R. waxes and wanes depending on the day and the amount of rest we've gotten the night before. :)
About a year ago right now we were in an ugly place emotionally. Some tough things had happened and both Troy and I went through about six to eight months of wanting out of Haiti. We knew that was not necessarily God, but more us just wanting to run from painful things and quit. It was basically that whole, "It might actually cost something to follow Jesus" lesson.
Around the six month mark we went to run the Twin Cities Marathon in October and something changed for me. I'd been wrestling with personal healing and all the opinions and pulling and I wrote this post. Things kept improving and by Thanksgiving I was at peace with staying. Around Christmas we were both discussing staying another few years at least. We wondered aloud if staying until Paige was ready for college might make sense. And then ... an earthquake. An evacuation. Humanitarian Parole. Texas. Questions. Uncertainty. And now lots of waiting on God and His answers on timing and future.
We will not risk Phoebe's long-term citizenship in order to return quicker. As much as that would be less uncomfortable and much less painful - and pretty much what could mean we get on a plane and go home tomorrow...We want her to ultimately have the chance to come and go freely from Haiti with the rest of her family, that is important to us. We never want to be in a position to look at her and say, "Sorry Phoebe, we are headed to Christmas at Grandma's house but you need to stay here with Jeronne." She has to be a citizen with a passport to have a 100% guarantee of leaving Haiti down the road. We need to trust that God's grace is sufficient as we wait on her citizenship, and on Him.
The other major thing weighing on my mind is something my Uncle has preached, and Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer writes about in his book.
My Uncle preaches the story of the Shunamite woman where she was given a child who then died at a young age. In 2 Kings 4 - the Shunamite woman holds the dream God gave her, dead in her arms. He says that Bible story begs the question - “If God gives you a dream and then takes it away, maybe God wants to see what is more important to you, the dream or God.”
I wondered this week if living and working in Haiti for God -- might actually BE my God sometimes? That is pretty twisted if true. I pray it is not, I don't want it to be. I only know I hate that God has me in the United States right now and the desire to get out of here is nutty. So, if there is any shred of truth to that at all, I hope to have it beaten out of me real-quick-like. (Read Phil's book for a really great personal account of putting a dream of serving God before God - huge success, followed by failure and ultimately reconciliation and healing.)
For now, the speaking engagements have been an unexpected blessing. We're not great public speakers by any stretch of the imagination. While we don't get incredibly nervous, there is not a lot of perfect presentation or polish. The up-side is, the stories are fun to share and the people we're meeting are fabulous and encouraging. We're touched each time. Texans have been gracious to us and incredibly welcoming.
Since it has been a while, let me ask - If you're a praying person ... and you're up to adding to your list, please chose one or two to cover this week:
- Pray for M.K who is a young woman and family friend that lost her Mom to Cancer earlier tonight.
- Pray for Jen Halverson as she leaves Haiti on Tuesday and faces all that goes with departing a place you love and have seen and experienced in such intense ways.
- Pray for all those who remain on the ground in Haiti - may God provide and protect.
- Rainy season has arrived ... Pray for a lighter rain, less rain, and fast solutions to the housing crisis.
- Pray for all those millions affected and still facing unimaginable emotional pain and further physical healing.
- Pray that someone who cares puts their hands on our daughters paperwork and helps move the process along.
- Pray for our 3 school-age kids as they all have a lot of school work to catch up on and this is the week we *must* get going. Pray that we find the right helpers and make wise decisions regarding their education(s).