It’s been 14 days since our return from Haiti, and it has taken 14 days for me to sit down and write about my experience there. This is also my third attempt at writing this blog. The first was too clean. The second was almost too rough. Now, I hope the third time is a charm and represents my experience honestly.
I came home with a changed heart.
Changed spiritual view.
I had A LOT of conflicting feelings, which certainly caught me off guard, but the feelings that outweigh the more complicated ones are very simple: like love, joy, happiness, and kindness. Those are simple…basic.
Turns out, I was not actively engaging in those simple, basic and pure feelings in my real, everyday life back in America. As I write this, I struggle.
Haiti threw me out of my comfort zone, and it forced me to reassess and realize what life’s priorities should be:
2. Family and Friends
3. Loving your neighbors
Nothing else matters after that.
I say that because our brothers and sisters in Morency, Haiti live off of typically $1 or $2 per day in homes made from scrap metal and cinder blocks, with no electricity or running water.
Yet, they are some of the happiest people I’ve ever met in my life.
I’ve realized that the internal struggle I was dealing with in Haiti was a result of me realizing how poor I was.
I’ve been allowing myself to live an impoverished, stressed life because I placed my richness on things: material and societal stresses…both burdens I placed on myself.
FACT: I have too many things, and I am comfortable. God has blessed me with amazing opportunities and when I focus my mind on his blessings instead of my bank balance, I realize what I have is more than enough.
FACT: Sometimes I worry too much about disappointing others. What matters is that I live my best life so I don’t disappoint God.
We, the United Sates as a whole, have access to anything and everything in the world, yet we are the most unhealthy (mentally and physically) country in the world. We consume and buy things hoping it makes us feel better. We post our highlight reel on social media to cover up our every day struggles.
Things don’t matter. When you die, no one will care about the things.
Being surrounded by an entire village of happy, smiling people who appeared to have nothing of any material value was a swift reality check. They had the most basic necessities (minus electricity and running water), and they didn’t seem worried or stressed. They were smiling and laughing and engaging with the community.
Investing in things still leaves you empty inside.
Investing in humans and love is what fills your soul.
At one point during the trip I went to Justin in tears and said, “Why are we here? I don’t know what we are doing here. They don’t need us. We have the issues. Why can’t I do more for them. What is the purpose of all of this?”
This same night was the first night I have ever felt I had a direct message from God. It clicked with me. He led me to realizations about my purpose that night which provided more peace than I’ve felt in a long time. It offered the peace I needed to focus and realign my purpose and intentions for the rest of the week…and for the rest of my life.
Haiti is rich with life. Smiles. Love. Community. Joy. HOPE.
I’ve never been hugged so much in my life. Every greeting began with a smile and a hug. The massive language barrier didn’t matter. We felt the love. We knew we were welcome.
I no longer say Haiti is poor. Are they poor in material wealth and access to health care and jobs and roadways and the list literally goes on. Yes. But our culture has poverty all wrong. Haiti is poor in material wealth, but the United States is poor in spiritual wealth.
I’d say the latter is worse.
I did not go to Haiti with any expectations. However, I kept thinking during the weeks leading up to our trip that our team needed Haiti way more than they needed us.
I was right. We needed them to show us how to love and care for other humans in a genuine way. They love exactly how God describes; exactly how God expects, commands, and hopes we will love all people.
That was the message God sent me that night. The amazing people in Haiti were God’s examples of how we should be loving each other, our neighbors, the strangers down the street, the people that have hurt us, and even our worst enemies. It’s a message that is repeated every Sunday morning at church and throughout the entire Bible, but it hit me in a totally different way that night.
No one is exempt from God’s love, and it is our job on Earth to show love. Period. No exceptions or excuses or reasons why not. We are not the judge of who is deserving of love and who is not.
Haiti opened my eyes, mind and heart to the life I’ve been living and the love I’ve been withholding. The purpose of my time in Haiti was to bring the soul, hope, joy, laughter and love of the villagers in Morency back home with me and to spread it like a wild fire. The purpose was to assess my priorities in life, focus on the big 3, and let the rest go.
Worry, stress and greed have no place here.
Give love. Give hope. Give joy. Give smiles. Give your money to a good cause.
I feel like this is a compilation of run-on sentences and rambling. It’s difficult to describe in words the depth of the feelings and impact the people of Morency left on our hearts, but I’m forever grateful and forever changed.
Will we go back to Haiti?