Monday, April 05, 2010

where i'm at

I spent yesterday feeling hopeful for Haiti. Not because Haiti needs me to feel it. Because I need to feel it. I know a world without suffering and pain is most probably impossible this side of eternity, but I still have hope that less suffering and less pain and less injustice is possible. I want to remain rooted in hope. I want to believe I might live to see Haiti healed. Africa healed. Asia healed. Mississippi healed. Waco, TX healed. But, especially Haiti.

It took more than two months, but the kids are finally asking to go home. I thought we might never hear that from Isaac, but when he heard his Daddy was going to be heading to Haiti he was sad he wasn't invited.

The kids have been in TX 11 weeks now. I'm at 6 weeks and Troy's at 8. But who's counting, right?!? ;) We've done all the things we wanted to do and we'd love to take our memories and head east to an intense and steamy island in the Caribbean. As of the moment, no date to do that is known. I could still be saying that a month from now. Beth reminded me today, God is in the waiting. We used to try to say that to adoptive parents at times, many times causing hurt unintentionally.

God is in our waiting.

I just looked at the report of our monthly sponsors and a lump rose in my throat as I saw that none of our support team have decided to bail out on us. There is something so uncomfortable about sitting here while being donor supported to work there. I know most of this team of people are reading. So- Thank you. Thank you for standing by us during this weird and unpredictable time. Thank you. I don't know why we get to experience our needs being met while others don't. We're so grateful for provision and shelter and so aware of those who have neither. You are wonderful and patient and giving. Thank you.

As a parent, I realize the longer this goes, the more of an adjustment we face back on the other side.

We worry about losing our ability to sleep in 98 degree heat or to be fine with a very basic and sometimes boring diet. We might lose our ability to recognize Malaria two hours into the onset of symptoms. What about our skills of contentment while living without constant entertainment choices and exciting social options at every turn? We had that way of life mostly down. What if we get soft and wimpy and way too used to all the yogurt and apple and potato chip varieties? What if we build up an addiction and dependency on liquid creamer in our coffee?

Unless you remove yourself from it maybe it is hard to recognize this, but our society seems to make even a very focused person tend toward ADD. Churches now have jumbo-trons and the multi-media presentations are a major part of a service. There are competing sources of entertainment at every corner. I know, I know, you're used to it. But we're more like dopey puppies with all of the stuff coming at us all the time, look here -ohhh no did you hear that?, look there, but wait, I think I smelled something, look there. Oh,OH we should try that! Aaahh!

And I thought Port au Prince was sensory overload.

The truth is, I am afraid of forgetting what matters. I'm afraid I'll allow my priorities to get skewed. Not that long ago I was driving a two year old car and wondering how I could find a way to get a newer, flashier, better car. Not that long ago I did not consider the suffering outside my front door. I just didn't. If it is not in my face, will I forget?

A while back some guy wrote us and asked if we "still hate America now that you are here enjoying all it has to offer? " I recognize that when so many strangers read what we write that a few will decide things about us and jump to conclusions.

Blogs are one-dimensional, and reading this does not a relationship make. We put it out there, we don't consider reading it without commenting "stalking", we know many readers prefer to remain anonymous. But I'd like to think most people realize that even by reading fairly personal and honest things on the internet, it doesn't mean you know the writer's heart or tone or intent. It doesn't mean we write about everything.

All of us are more complicated than a single tweet or blog post can adequately express. That dude was way off. He took it upon himself to be offended for all of America that we'd rather be in Haiti. I have no idea why he is offended, but it is not the first or last thing that has stirred up offense over the years. Wanting to go back is not a statement about America, it is a statement about where we feel and believe we are "called" (dislike that word - it sounds uber holy and like we got some sort of instruction from God written in the clouds - we didn't) to be and where we felt content. Living there- in some small way it feels like love. In many large ways it feels like learning. Who doesn't want to love and learn?

I don't hate America. Not by any stretch of the imagination. The contrasts stir up many unanswerable questions in my soul - but I love both places for different reasons. Tonight I enjoyed a long walk with my two youngest girls in a stroller and Troy at my side. That has never happened in Port au Prince. Of course I love many things about both countries.

As Troy preps to get on an airplane early Wednesday morning to head home, Paige and I are fighting off "TR" as best we can. We had hoped TR did not extend to our own family/loved ones, but we think maybe it does. ("The resentment" - also known simply as "T.R." This is the deep and somewhat irrational dislike for anyone who gets to be in Haiti right now.) We've asked Troy to make tweeting and blogging a high priority ... if he won't do it for you, that he'll do it for *us* - so that way we can live vicariously through him. I'm counting on him! I am also counting on him to hug Jeronne very tightly and tell her how much I care about her and miss her right now.

I just finished reading, "Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle" by Kent Annan. He works in Haiti and lived in-country for a couple of years. I liked it a lot, especially because he struggles with all the questions we struggle with but does not pretend there are easy or clear answers. Simplifying any of it to some "this is how to live" or "this is how to help" formula is both condescending and false. He never does that. He wrestles with it and he comes up with ideas and hunches but mostly just questions and a desire to keep digging and keep trying.

I read on his publishers site that re-printing 200 words is okay.
This excerpt nails it:

"There's something about the desperation of life here (in Haiti) that resonates with how desperate life itself really actually, is. On the surface, an American suburb is a place where life is orderly, manicured, manageable. Here, the surface is raw and needy and clawing. There is some reassurance in living where the exterior life, with all its ragged desperation - and glimpses of beauty and faith and spontaneous dancing - resonates more with the interior experience of being human."