The alarm goes off all too soon. It’s another morning where the coffee isn’t strong enough. Seems like there are a lot of those kinds of mornings here. I choose to ignore the ants in the sugar, stirring a spoonful into my coffee. Added protein. We play our regular morning game of “so what did the rat get into last night?” Milk powder, flour, potatoes, crackers.. We add coffee filters to the ever-growing list, following the papery traces to the hole in the cabinet where they scurry to and from.
So starts another morning in Haiti.
Many times I’ve said “No more.. I’m done.” I look at the sheer need- the faces hiding behind crumbling cement homes, the disabled boy in the park, the fragile frame of the elderly woman, the men who catcall, the 34 children in the orphanage downstairs, a country plagued with deceit and darkness, the 7 little lives just in our classroom. And my usual hope-determined soul has spent the last month broken at the feet of the Lord, crying for the way it’s all futile.
But God continues to whisper, “Not yet.. I am not done just yet.”
So we stand up, again. For another day of school. For another round of smashed avocados and peanut butter oatmeal. For another afternoon of fixing and refixing bicycles. For another cold shower and slice of peanut butter toast. Each night I fall to sleep saying “No more, God.” And each sunrise comes sweet with His mercy and grace, beckoning. “Stand again, for I am not done yet.”
Here is the part where the story should change, where Light breaks through and Love proves stronger; the people change, the corruption and deceit are no more, and fruit for the labor is plentiful. But the boy still stands in the park, fatherless homes still crumble, and now southern Haiti is devastated by a hurricane. I sit, asking Him to tell me once again, of the power and the love and the beauty. I ask, waiting to see a love that never fails, a compassion that does not end, and a mercy everlasting. I sit and I ask, until I remember why it matters.
How does one paint an adequate picture of life here? We struggle, unable to relay all the life brings here- both the hope and the despair, the discouragement and the joy. And the way it all walks hand in hand. So many writings have been left unfinished, for the fear of sounding falsely optimistic or overly discouraged.
There’s Carl’s proud smile over his freshly painted bicycle. Mayline pouring over math papers, bound and determined to push through until she finishes every problem. There’s David running the compound bare-bummed with mischief in his eyes and spunk in his soul. Uno games that echo loud in the orphanage. Mikey’s giggles that show up in unexpected moments. Everything, laced with the frustration and the joy and the discouragement and the hope. A mess that can never be straightened, but the way He makes it beautiful. And, whether we get to see it or not, the way He makes it matter.
Each morning we stand, again and again. And each morning we give Him our day, again and again. Knowing the greatest and only thing we can do here is done when we are on our knees. Knowing on our knees is where He makes it all beautiful. And on our knees is where He makes it all matter.