i’ve been home from haiti for more than a week. but i’ve had a hard time figuring out how to re-engage blogging. it’s almost like i used so many words that week, and so much of what little emotional bandwidth i have, that i haven’t had reserves left for whatever this — post trip life — is supposed to be. i made it through a speaking event, but restlessly. and i’ve been plunking away at the little details of life: driving the kids to school, answering emails, making phone calls. but i can’t seem to find my way into some of the more creative or time-focused projects i have to work on; and maybe that’s because i’m afraid of what i’ll find when i go there.
tonite (friday) and sunday morning, i’ve been asked to do a 15 – 20 minute interview about haiti as part of the sermon at my church. the sermon happens to be about living with both longing and desire while still holding onto hope. and — wow — what i saw and experienced and soaked in during that short time in haiti is such a strong example of that.
but i’m choking up just typing this, and those faces keep coming back to me.
where’s johnny sleeping tonite? how about pastor chevalier? have the march rains started to impact the marassa tent cities yet? will their little stick-and-sheet tents be swept away? will these people with nothing be left with even less than nothing?
do they still have that hope i saw? what about the joy?
and, really, HOW is it that suffering leads to hope and joy? and why do i ever think my life will be full of hope and joy if i run from, boundary and buffer myself from, and medicate away from suffering?
so… what now?
well, i’m working on setting up another trip. more on that later.
in the mean time, i want to suggest ways you can do something. a few of my friends from the trip have written about this also (including rhett smith, adam mclane, and lars rood). here are some thoughts:
1. pray. yeah, we say this, right? but, seriously, there’s something unique in our lifetime happening in haiti right now. pray for healing and restoration. pray for the leadership of the haitian church. pray that the hope people are experiencing in the midst of their pain and suffering will continue to be anchored in jesus christ. pray that help will come, long after the american media has stopped reporting on the earthquake.
2. give. it was amazing to see the outpouring of financial help during the first couple weeks after the quake. but the need is so great. give to organizations you trust.
3. go. to the naysayers who were saying, a few weeks ago, that people should stay away from haiti unless they have a skill that is specifically needed (medical help, etc), i say, “you are completely full of crap and have no freaking idea what you’re talking about.” hands are needed, and backs, and ears, and hearts. and they’re needed by the thousands. of course, i’m not encouraging anyone to go without a plan. but, find a group that is thinking responsibly about how to help, organize a small group of friends, your youth group or young adult group or men’s ministry or adult small group or neighborhood block party club and go. bring a big heart, listening ears, and ready hands.
as far as who to go with, i can’t recommend adventures in missions more strongly. i love their thoughtfulness and approach. i love that they’re developing a strategy that involves working alongside and in partnership with the haitian church (foreshadowing: they’re putting together an amazing church partnership program that is going to be off-the-charts cool and impactful). AIM — who also host low-cost domestic trips worth checking out if you just can’t do the haiti thing — is already up and running, ready to host groups in haiti, tailoring a trip for the maturity, readiness, and abilities of your group. seriously: check ’em out. make plans for this summer, when most people will have already forgotten about haiti, but the needs will be just as present as they are today.
ok. that’s what i have to say today. my wife just told me she has tamales inside, and i need to go eat one of those. then i’m off to church to talk about haiti and see if i can make it through without blubbering on stage.