Where to begin?
We’ve been back a week now, and sometimes switching from one universe to the next isn’t a big deal, and other times it leaves my head spinning. Do you want to know what I was doing the last 48 hours before we left? Certainly cramming in more family time, but also shopping and stocking up on all sorts of ‘needed’ times. I get so intense those last hours. I have a constant tetris game going on inside my head, trying to picture our two suitcases and what will fit. Can I get away with three boxes of wheat thins or just two? I’ll take them out of the box, but will it be pointless because they’ll get all squished and broken? And of course I end up with about a dozen books I can’t leave behind, because even though we got a kindle for Christmas last year, I still buy or borrow hardcopies because I do love the smell of a book book-something a kindle can’t replace. That and my husband doesn’t share very well, so it’s a marriage saver when I have my own something to read.
This last minute packing, weighing, packing, cramming, sweating nonsense has become quite comical to on lookers. My mom and mother in law were around to witness my insanity and tried to help but realized it was like trying to step into a swirling Toronto and not get sucked in. At first glance, it seems like nothing will fit,but I have learned the art of stuffing and will leave no item behind. And of course, all this is done the hour before we are supposed to leave, causing us to usually be a little late for the trek up to LAX.
And for what? I sit here a week later, and can hardly even remember or find those precious items I felt couldn’t be left in the states. Well, that may not be entirely true as I just had some chocolate covered macadamia nuts (can’t exactly find those here) and I did use some yummy vanilla powder in my trader joe’s coffee this morning.
But then, after driving through town the other day, I feel like so lamel. How is that? I can buy buy buy, consume and consume and not feel any remorse in the states. And yet just a day after coming back here, I see a large family living in a small hut with not a whole of material possessions in the world, and my mind goes blank. What was I doing?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think my three bags were excessive-yes we did pay extra for two extra bags!- but it still gets me thinking. It’s so easy to be consumed by what surrounds you. I’m not always thankful for living here, a place that constantly reminds me how much I have, or how wealthy I really am. On some of my hard or bad days, when maybe our generator goes out, or our batteries die, or we can’t get the water to turn on, or our truck breaks down-all it really does after I vent and sometimes have a small pity party-is remind me that I have all those things. I have a house with plumbing inside, knowing most of my neighbors do not. In fact, 7 out of every 10 people in Haiti just go right outside anywhere. Or how about when I’m mid shower and we run out of water? I’ve learned, two years into this, to take a deep breath and that soap left on my body will dry off just fine. Okay, who I am kidding, I’m not always that cool about it. And when I do freak out, I feel like such a tool because none of my neighbors even have running water in their houses.
To be honest, those are the things that make me both love Haiti, and not love it so much. I don’t like to be constantly reminded of how well off I am. I don’t like to read verses about the rich young ruler and realize that I am indeed that rich. It’s annoying. I’m not rich, Bill Gates and his friends are. I don’t like that I can hardly go a few days without seeing, experiencing, or hearing of someone’s struggle to live and survive.
But since when is it all about me?
I chuckle to myself because God has to remind me of that a lot. It’s not all about you Jessica. There is more than what meets the eye-God sees our hearts. So, thankfully or not so thankfully sometimes, living here allows me to examine my heart. Often. The Lord is showing me, teaching me, and reminding me, that I am accountable before the Lord. Period. Me and only me will stand before His mighty throne and have to give an account of what I did with my time and my resources.