It’s been a few months since I’ve posted to this blog. I’m pretty sure I have posted once or twice to my other blog swaygrl.blogspot.com more recently than here. Upon checking the link, I found yeah I wrote about my son being just a bit taller than me and that was all the way back in November of 2013. Now here it is January 2014 and I still feel odd typing the 14 where the year goes in the date. I had a lot of great things happen over those months since my last post, and some tough things too. All in all I’m pretty thankful for a new start to a new year. I was able to return to Haiti again this past December. It was another life changing trip for me. This time our group consisted of 18 people from our church and also friends and family from NC. We planned to go and build an orphanage for the orphans we support when we visited the year before last and believe it or not that is just what we got to do on our trip this time. We are halfway finished with it and still need financial support to finish the building, but we are so much closer to our dream coming true than we ever imagined.
There are many many images of our recent trip running through my mind. I still miss the salty air, the heat during the day time, the bright sunshine, and palm trees everywhere. I miss the island attitude towards life, and how time seems to slow down there, that there really is no rush at all. Life is good (even in the midst of hunger and hardships) and just enjoying each moment for what it truly is, is what’s important. There was always singing again on this trip, in the van, at the house, on the streets, and at the churches we visited. People break out into song on the street if they feel like it. It’s almost like living in what I’ve always dreamed a musical would be like in real life. I feel at home in Haiti. This time I was blessed with very little fears or apprehensions when I arrived. I was given the gift of experience from the year before and knew who I could trust, knew more what to do and not to do. So from the moment I landed this time I felt a confidence that I know was lacking on the previous trip. I learned from that year, and that is a gift… There were members on our team who’d never set foot in a 3rd world country, this time I was prepared to help them, to guide them and be kind through it all because I still remembered my first time there. This year was very different than last year. For many reasons. The number of the group, the money that had been donated, and also because we actually did physical labor this time. I think like anyone I went with certain expectations of how the trip should go and I wish I could take that part back. I wish I would’ve remembered better to just go with the flow and not expect anything different. American habits are hard to let go of even if you know better. Overall though it was an amazing trip. I saw places in Haiti, I hadn’t the last time, and I got to know some very cool people in our group that I had never met before. I also showed my friends in Haiti from our last trip that I cared enough to return. That by my sheer presence I really did care! There is something wonderful about being able to do what you said you would do for people who have no way of paying you back!
I have this constant ache now. I don’t seem to fit in with American society as well right now. I want to go back… I wish I could explain my longing to return to Haiti better. I didn’t want to leave this time either. It seems like when you are in a place that has so little, that it’s hard to just find clean water, or afford food to eat, and everything is completely different than what you know at home, that for these reasons you would be ready to return home. I did hear many American’s on the flight back who were ready to come home and how tired of rice and beans they were. So I wonder, what happened to me? Why do I want to stay, why do I feel like I should just up and move my little family to Haiti? Perhaps those are too hard questions for my audience to answer, perhaps they are somewhere inside of me, and if I will just keep writing it out, it will come? Bah, y’all don’t have time for this navel gazing… It’s time to get back to the New Year, goal setting, figuring out how to makes 2014 better, more productive, more profitable…
Right? Or is it?
Maybe it’s time to reflect? Maybe at the beginning it is time to look back and remember an amazing, hard, wonderful, ugly, and frustratingly beautiful year? My son turned 13 in the beginning of the year. He was just finishing 7th grade and about to start 8th. The hard part was that I worked for a company that I no longer work with as of last May.In the end it was one of those disappointments that truly worked out for the best. I’m still married and today I’m sure we still like and love one another(most of the time)! I still continue to work with my family’s business Chalmers Enterprises and I also volunteer a lot of time with Help4Haiti, Inc. a non-profit to help minister to orphans in Haiti. I was on Fox 5 TV in June!!!!! Then Niche by design began an adventure of having a booth inside Woodstock Market and we have had lots of fun meeting new people, selling a some of our treasures, and enjoying the fabulous crew of folks there. I became friends with my neighbor which is probably one of the best things that happened all year. And, we made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas crazies here in America just in time to hop on a plane and go back to Haiti. Yeah, I know, I can’t get away from it. Everything seems to lead me right back to Haiti. Perhaps I’m still in reverse culture shock. Or maybe just maybe I’m just madly in love with a place that shows me what is real, the true meaning of joy, where there is no doubt of the warmth of my friends there, and yea there is a beautiful ocean surrounding the land too (which I hope I get to see next time).
What did I learn in 2013? I think the biggest lesson I learned while I was in Haiti. Of course! But it was a lesson I’ve learned and it’s something I’ve had to re-learn again and again. You see if you don’t already know it, I am a natural worrier. I think I even enjoy my worrying sometimes, UGH! But while I was in Haiti, through some tough circumstances, God made it clear to me that worry is nothing more than saying I don’t trust God. And, if I don’t trust God, then what the heck am I doing? I think God has been telling me all my life that it’s all His, that everything belongs to Him, so I have nothing to worry about, but I’m stubborn and won’t listen…. Or if I do listen, I get it for a little while and then pick back up old habits. I want and need to remember this year that He cares for me, and for all those orphans, for my child, and for my family so much more than is humanly possible to understand. Why do I waste so much time with worry, anxiety, and fear? The God of the universe has it all! I just gotta keep giving it back to Him. He’s there if I will just rest and trust in Him. He’s always been there. So this year my goal is to give it all to God, let Him do it, and Thank Him when He does, or even when He decides there is better for me. In 2014 my goal is to be more thankful and less worried. What about you?
I’ll try writing again soon, but you can probably tell I’m not good at posting often, I’m more like the kind of blogger that if I can get inspired and get to my computer again, I will. Like my mom said the whole time in every email before we left for Haiti, “one concrete block at a time”… Blessings O.