Monday, January 24, 2011

Quoting ...

“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.”   ~ Henri Nouwen

This might be the hardest adjustment coming back home after most of 2010 in Tejas.  It is important to remember that the most powerful currency in Haiti is relationship.  Sitting and talking (sometimes about nothing) is a difficult thing to force ourselves to slow down and do.  We're driven by our personal desires to get things done, show results, impress donors, finish the task, etc. etc.  ....   but we always come back to realizing that what feels significant on the surface is not nearly as important as sitting with someone who needs time to be heard. Presenting fancy graphs, charts, and stats about lives "saved" is so much less meaningful than being with one person for as long as they need and actually touching their life.