Provision and Challenges
Bonswa! I hope this post finds you loving life amidst some amazing and challenging adventures. Things continue to go well here in Haiti and it seems that my most common thought remains, “this cannot possibly be real life…” I should clarify that this thought almost always comes up in response to beautiful and challenging experiences down here that leave me in awe of provision and interesting people.
Admittedly, I experience occasional low points and a heaviness of heart that is usually fleeting. These low points are to be expected in a journey in which I am far from home, incredibly challenged, and often isolated in a place where I spend my days speaking two languages I am still learning and working alongside people that are incredible but still much different than me in the scope of our lives. Overall, these challenges provide for a wonderful adventure, but that does not mean they won’t occasionally weigh on my heart.
On sunday I took a true sabbath and enjoyed a joyride around Port au Prince, ate a solid meal at a nice restaurant, and read most of a good book at a quiet spot. I still left the afternoon with a heaviness of heart that seemed unexplainable. I always receive clarity that it is not the material things of life that are at the core of the most difficult challenges down here – yes, I live much more basically overseas than most people in the US do, and yes, sometimes I do wish for a night at the pub with good friends and a midnight Taco Bell run or some Chinese take-out, but the overall experience of a much more basic life in a third world country is the style of life I have always been in love with.
Last Sunday was a perfect example of our basic human need for encouragement of the heart amidst challenging times. I hopped on my moto after eating and reading to return home still unable to shake whatever was weighing on me. About halfway home a large semi- truck pulled up that was overloaded with Haitian people sitting on top of one another and hanging off of the sides. Many of these people had hymnals in their hands and were singing together while driving through Port au Prince on the way home from Church. These people were absolutely packed on the back of a truck on a very hot day and they all had huge smiles on their faces as they sang together. Needless to say, I tucked in right behind the truck and followed them all around Port au Prince for 35 minutes just soaking in a unique experience that served to elevate my spirits to the point of laughing out loud for the entire time.
In my theological readings this week I came across a very cool Franciscan Prayer that I would like to share with you in full in this post as a beautiful articulation of the role that challenges can play in our lives. Here it is:
“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, hard hearts, half-truths, and superficial relationships so that you may live from deep within your heart where God’s Spirit Dwells. May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy. And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world and in your neighborhood, so that you can make a difference in this world and in your neighborhood, so that you will courageously try what you don’t think you can do, but in Jesus Christ you’ll have the strength necessary to do. May God bless you so that you remember we are all called to continue God’s redemptive work of love and healing in God’s place, in and through God’s name, in God’s Spirit, continually creating and breathing new life and grace into everything and everyone we touch.”
I feel very blessed for occurrences such as Haitian people singing Hymns from the back of a semi-truck driving around Port au Prince, because it is such encouragement of the heart that gives me the confidence to courageously engage in work that often seems way beyond me. From the children who chase me the length of the community in order to begin singing together, to the adults in the deaf community who line up outside of where I meet with people just to say good morning and ask how I am doing . . . That is the point of it all – we only find true challenges when we engage in something that seems too big to handle. We can work extremely hard in the confidence of perfect provision from the Perfect Will.
Hoping you all are finding the opportunities to dive into something that scares you and is therefore a true challenge!
Grace and peace,