"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." ~ Psalm 51:10
I went searching for this verse this morning as I desperately work to adjust back to my "normal life" after five days in Haiti. Although I wrote a novel while in Haiti, I cannot seem to find words...whether it is to write here or on my other spaces, or even when people ask me, "How was it?"...I seem to be on repeat with "It was beyond my wildest imagination."....and it was, but it was OH so much more...
So why can't I find the words?
I'm simmering. Processing. Percolating.
I don't know how long this part will take.
What I can say is that when everyone from all walks of life who have been to Haiti say to you, "Haiti will change you."...they are NOT lying. I have seen poverty, joy in the midst of chaos, beauty....in Europe, in Panama, and in other travels...I have NEVER seen it on the level of Haiti, and amazingly all at once. Beyond my photos, in the mental pictures I made, one snapshot could contain all of those things...All.
As I sit here struggling for words...for the right words, I am struck at how different I feel...even here writing, drinking a cup of coffee, listening to the birds chirp...I am even more struck at how I don't won't to lose the "different"...it is uncomfortable, unpredictable, unsafe, a little dangerous (okay...a lot dangerous), but I want more of what this is...and that alone makes me chuckle. Really Heather?!?! Yes, really.
I went to Haiti to help, but they helped me more. These children who have nothing....these people who are struggling to survive, to re-build...renewed me. Loved me. Opened their hearts to me. Trusted me.
There was this beautiful girl at the first orphanage in Hinche that we went to, and she stayed with me the entire time of our stay. Her head shaved, covered in ointment, peeling skin (I don't know what was wrong), I noticed that part for all of five seconds because I was overwhelmed by her beautiful big eyes, and her arms...reaching for me, clinging to me, wrapped around my neck as if in fear I would not hold on, that I would let her go...like she was drowning. She eventually released her grip some as we drew with colored chalk on the cinder block walls that surround the orphanage. I taught her how to blow kisses (which is a beautiful story all by itself). Her name was pronounced (Was Me Love), and we are not sure we got the correct spelling...towards the end of our visit, we both had Dum Dum suckers in our mouths...as I struggled in leaving her, saying good-bye, parting hugs....at the very end, she gently took the sucker (what was left of it) out of my mouth, gently tapped it in the air toward me as if in permission or "I am going to take this...okay?"...I smiled curiously. She stuck it in her mouth (along with the one she already had), smiled at me, and allowed the older girls to lead her away. When she glanced back at me over her shoulder, with both hers and my sucker in her mouth, her eyes said more to me than the words I could ever write here...or that I wrote once I got back to our bus. As we walked down the dirt path out of the orphanage, my heart breaking, tears streaming down my face, looking down, there in the middle of the path was a giant heart rock....I kid you not.
Haiti showed me love, injected joy in me, showed me compassion...and clearly and most assuredly helped me.
I left a big part of my heart in Haiti, but that is okay because just like the loaves and fishes and how Jesus fed thousands....I don't know how, but even in giving it away, I left with a bigger heart and more love than I entered the country with five days earlier.
My heart is bursting, my spirit is renewed, and I am growing...Every. Day.
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)