This is my last post recapping our construction mission trip to Haiti over the July 4th week. To read them all, click here and continue back to the first one titled “We Came Back Changed”.
Haiti wrecked me.
At least for a little while…
When we first got back, it was so hard to process all that had happened. I needed some time for it to all sink in. To think about it and weigh the significance of it all. I still have not finished the last 2 days in my journal because I almost can’t put it into words, at least words that do it proper justice. That, or I don’t want to close that chapter. I’m not sure.
When I walked in to work on Monday morning and people started asking about the trip, it was so hard to figure out what to say first. How do you sum up something so substantial into a few trite statements. “It was great” doesn’t work. And how interested are people really? I could talk about the week and all that happened for well over an hour, no problem. But how many people really want to know about it, really? Most people just ask to be polite. “Oh, how was your trip?” But then it’s right on to the next thing. So it was hard to know how to handle all of that. How to handle those conversations and then move on back to my “real world”.
Something else I didn’t anticipate were my emotions. For those that were truly interested, I’d start to share a few specific stories. It’s easier to break it down that way. Katiane’s story was one of them. Not 30 minutes into my first day back to work, I was crying as I talked about her. I didn’t think that was going to happen. I remained a bit emotional that first day, and probably the next few.
That entire first week after we got back, it was hard to focus on anything. Haiti wrecked me. All I wanted to do was to read more about what was going on there, to learn all that I could. I wanted to talk about it with others. I wanted everyone else to know the severity of the situation there. It was so hard to get back to my “real world”. To do my job, to clean my house, to start another class for my MBA program. I realized that our garage was bigger than the houses that we built. I got annoyed when we had to clean the house and dust all of our stuff, and all those other upkeep things you have to do with the more possessions that you acquire. It took up my time that I could be doing other, more important things. It was all weighing me down.
After experiences like that, it really makes you question what you are doing with your life. What am I doing here? Am I really helping people? What difference am I making? What kinds of things and activities do I need to cut out so that I really have time to do more for other people?
I found other opportunities to plunge into. Not huge things, but little things. I got involved in helping promote the World Vision Aids Experience that is in town right now. I signed up to help at a World Vision artist associates concert later in August. I found out about, and signed up, to help with a benefit dinner for International Justice Mission in September. And I still so badly want to sign up to be a friendship partner to a local refugee family. I am just afraid to commit the time to a family and then have to let them down.
Haiti wrecked me. At least for a little while…
It has now been exactly one month since we’ve been back. I find it a struggle to keep that fervor that I had 4 weeks ago. Why is it that an experience so significant, that we felt like changed us so much, can start to slip away so easily and so soon? It scares me a bit. I don’t want it to fade. I don’t want to be coerced back to my normal patterns. I want to hold on to that feeling and the preoccupation I had with figuring out what I could do to make a difference. The knowledge that our “stuff” doesn’t matter. That there are so many people in this world hurting and in need, and that we can do something about it…
We are only given one chance here on earth. I want to make it count…
“Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship. Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.”
-Romans 12:1-2 (The Voice)
Photos taken by Jason Welch. Check out his photography blog here.