The past few days have brought this strange numbness….like I don’t fit wherever I am. Partially because I never do but it seems more intense lately. Finally I was reminded yesterday that I am in the “between first and third world” transition phase as I am leaving for Haiti in a few days. One would think I would sense when this is coming on because I have been doing this for almost 10 years but it always seems to creep up on me.
I was unloading the dishwasher and my RaceTrac cup caught my eye. I literally looked at it and said in my head, “I will miss you, RaceTrac cup.” WTH??? As I prepare to leave I subconsciously say good bye to ice and air conditioning and it takes me a little while to wean myself from all the conveniences. I am human too. I am not beyond getting my panties in a wad when I have to clean out my bowl in the bunkhouse in Haiti with a paper towel and hand sanitizer for the hundredth time because water is too important to waste on such things. I don’t count the days to no shower, sweat to the point I carry a washcloth with me so my glasses don’t slide down my nose (don’t judge), and sliding on muddy rocks in a long skirt and cursing my “hiking boots” because they aren’t doing a dang thing for me in the middle of a downpour on top of a slippery foot path. Crackers and canned chicken are not my faves (although Chick-fil-A sauce does wonders for most foods) and I also miss my comfortable car, legitimate roads, and my washing machine. But not enough to stay home. Never enough to stay home.
We are a society of comfort and conveniences. We thrive off quick and easy. But what about the rest of the world? The world where clean water is nonexistent and a pair of shoes is a luxury.
I know when we started to go to Haiti there was this lingering question in the minds of the people in the village which was very simple…..”WHY would she leave her comfort to come here?” At first I had to figure that question out for myself. I wanted to be there for the right reasons and a motivation that is not centered around some philanthropic do-gooder mentality. And here is my conclusion…..I go because I am called. We are ALL called to somewhere other than our own families and our own little circles. The other reason is a bit selfish but it is because the people in Haiti have something extraordinary that I lack and I just want to be around them because of it.
Constantly people say to me, “We forget how blessed we are in America” and I always have this uneasy feeling like there was something inherently wrong with that statement. Yes we have drive thrus and electricity. We have faucets and milk in the fridge. But we also have meth and porn. We live very isolated lives from those around us because we need to keep up with the materialistic world we live in. We have free schools yet most don’t appreciate them anyway. We have a lot of stuff but we remain unsettled most of the time because there is always something more to be attained or accomplished. We know a lot of people but often feel disconnected because of our busyness and our own selfishness.
And then there is entitlement. The feeling so many have that the government owes them something. Government assistance should lead to gratitude and humility but most of the time it only breeds dependence and arrogance. Something needs to change here is the USA. We are not as “blessed” as we want to think we are. There is a huge need for change in our country. Addiction, crime and sexual exploitation are taking over and most of us don’t even know it is happening.
Being “blessed” to me is doing life with people I love who have learned the value of hard work under the worst conditions. It means spending time together under an avocado tree talking about education and the need for rain so the crops will grow. It means watching children come to school after a 2 hour walk with no mud on their shoes and no victim mentality in their step. Those are the moments that most bless me. I can deal with frizzy hair and unending mud all day long to get a piece of that.
What keeps us from answering the call? Fear. Comfort. Denial.
The time is now. We have so many opportunities all around us to be avenues of change but it does not happen in our sheltered little worlds and our consumer driven families. It happens when we put the conveniences aside and embrace the uncomfortable…..what is gained is always greater in those times than what is lost. Relationships win over Netflix and Keurigs.
We were created to be in community. And not our mono ethnic cliques or hobby driven circles. But the kind of community that stretches us. Makes us wrestle with our prejudices and our self seeking motives. Doing life with people who don’t make us look good to other people and who won’t feed into our egos.
Go answer the call. Give til you have nothing left. You will come alive.