Well, I am here to tell you that all of the trying and horrific things you have heard about "re-entry" are true. Very, very true.
Re-entry is what happens when you get home after a trip to say...Haiti. The beauty of travel to unknown destinations is that you have no way to fully prepare for the experience...what you/we rarely consider is how the experience(s) will change you and impact your daily life once you return home.
Haiti is intense...in just a single, solitary word...Intense. It is a country of contrasts....beauty and pain, trash and treasure, sunlight and darkness, blue skies and dirt roads, lush fields and muddy water, breathtaking views and views that quite literally take your breath, it is where God meets satan, and love meets redemption, and when your eyes can't take in anything else...your heart is moments from bursting, your spirit soaring and sinking simultaneously, and your body spent....then, THEN Haiti hits you with the knock-out punch...Joy. Pure, unadulterated joy.
I often write about the places in my walk where God has met me. Haiti is not one of those places.
Haiti....Haiti is where God sent me and then he wrecked me...sweaty, tired, spent, weeping, aching arms from rocking and holding orphans, cheeks sore from smiling, legs rubber from walking, back aching after days of concrete and wooden benches with kids crawling all over me, head throbbing from thinking and dreaming and brainstorming, mind reeling from the sight of children fighting in line waiting for a hot dog and then splitting it into threes and fours to share it with a smaller child who never made it to the line, heart shattering as an orphan asks to see photos of my family, a man greeting me in Haitian Creole (and me the same) and walking together side-by-side...me in a 10K trail walk/run laden down with water and snacks and proper shoes...him barefoot, tattered clothes, a hoe in his hand, singing and joyful as he walked from one field to the next to continue his workday as I casually strolled through the back roads of his homeland, the little boy all of three who walked awhile with me while carrying a jug of water nearly as big as he was...grinning at me with eyes lit and a smile that could melt the sun, being remembered by a little boy all of eight who with a small pointed finger reached out toward me across a playground and melted me to my core (I would give all I have to experience that single moment of the trip again. All. I. Have.), and the little girl who totally spent crawled up on my chest...burrowing in...and as I rocked...fell asleep...right before I did the same, and the beauty of sunrise that I cannot put into words especially when it rises up over a brightly painted orphanage where children are singing, harmonizing, joyfully greeting the new day...a beautiful new day.
I am sitting cross-legged on my couch this Sunday morning....knowing I have a list of things to do a mile long. Bags still unpacked as I left again for a couple of days just 24 hours after returning at 1 a.m. Tuesday morning from Haiti. Dishes, laundry, a work week to prepare for...
...but there are other needs this Sunday morning. Church at home, alone, me and God, simmering, praying, searching, weeping, writing...unfit for human companionship right now. Yesterday I slept...All. Day. My body spent in ways I cannot even fully describe. I was a pile of jello merging as one with my couch the entire day...knowing I had things to do, but not a bit of strength or true desire in me to lift my body up. This morning as I came out of my lethargic, catatonic state...the words are coming....slowly. I feel a deep desire and responsibility to document my experiences in Haiti better this time...more. I kept a lot of my trip last year to myself...not selfishly, but because it was hard to speak of it without getting deeply emotional...and those who I trusted with it were few...and often it was simply done because they asked about my trip, and I could NOT not answer the question without emotion and passion and lots, LOTS, of hand gestures. :)
Haiti is something everyone should experience...at least once. Haiti is everything I have ever learned about Jesus personified, and it is a country that moves me somewhere deep...in a primal way. I want to drink it up like a woman who has spent a lifetime roaming the desert alone...and suddenly comes upon life. You thought I was going to say water...it isn't like that though...it isn't life sustaining...it IS life. It is life with all of its beauty and darkness and struggle and joy...it is magical, mystifying, and a puzzle I can't quite figure out.
I am a girl who loves to be needed, and Haiti is a country full of need...YET, that isn't the point. I need Haiti. I need the lessons Haiti is teaching me...about myself, about love, about God, about my work, and about life.
People keep asking me, "What is about Haiti for you?" I don't know...and I shake my head every time...I don't know. It is the intersection of nothing and everything somewhere in my heart. I understand nothing yet everything when I am there.
I don't know.
The place our soul loves often acts like a mirror reflecting back to us the core (full or empty) of who we are....if that is true, and if Haiti is that for me, then I am a walking paradox...and that my tribe, I have known for a very, very long time. In helping in Haiti, I am doing the most selfish act of my life...because it is Haiti that is teaching me, healing me, revealing to me the deep lessons God has for me..showing me the core truths of what my life is...what it can be...what it has always been meant to be.
I promise to write and share more from this last trip to Haiti. Be patient with me though....simply getting to this post has been fraught with exhaustion, tears, and revelations. Allowing a place to turn you inside and out....is a journey, not a destination, and this is a marathon, not a sprint. Just as I took my time walking the back roads of Haiti as I completed the 10K...I need to stroll through the memories and pictures I took in my mind...revealing them slowly as God uses them to teach this stubborn one yet more lessons of his heart for my heart.
Lest I forget, thank you SO much for all of the prayers and words of encouragement both before, during, and now after my trip. I have the most dearest friends....those I have known for years and those I know only through here. Each of you inspire me to push on, to be brave and write from my heart, and to share the lessons of this path to purpose I am on....many of you are much, much more eloquent than I....and the fact that you are patient with my trial and error....well, it is humbling and lovely, and I am grateful. So grateful for you.
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)