(pictures below taken by the lovely Chris, who took the trip to haiti with me :)
i remember pulling away from those kids- from my kids- and feeling a lump begin to rise at the back of my throat.
i remember pressing my hand flat against the glass window closest to me and them putting their own, small, dusty ones against it from the other side.
i remember them running along side the bus as we slowly pulled away. i remember looking back over my shoulder and waving to them for as long as i could. not wanting to let them go yet. honestly, no matter how much time i spent with them, i don't think it would ever be enough to make me happy.
i remember telling myself, "i have to come back. no matter what it takes, i must come back."
and i remember most vividly, because i still feel it every day, the panic feeling of never seeing each of those sweet, shining faces again.
so i know i have to now. in order to stay sane, i have to.
* * *
i figured out i would be coming back to haiti on the night before my team and i would be leaving.
my small group and i were wrapping up our last evening together and we were sitting in a circle, holding hands as we prayed our final prayer.
i remember saying "amen!" with my group and walking back to my hotel room, sobbing.
i remember sobbing because i couldn't stand the feeling of leaving. there was this sickly, unsettling feeling already beginning to grow inside me. a feeling that told me i wouldn't be okay until i came back.
i wanted so bad to just fly the ones i loved back in missouri out to haiti. because i was happy there. and i hadn't felt that kind of joy that came from doing what i did every day in haiti in all my life. i didn't want to lose that.
so i remember thinking i could never be settled again. not till i came back.
and i still feel that way.
i still think of everyone back there every single day.
it's as if i had left family clear across the world when i took that plane ride home.
maybe because i had.
i remember already missing haiti when we hadn't even stepped on that plane that would take me home to missouri.
i remember taking off and wanting to get off more than anything else in the world.
i remember thinking my whole life through during that entire flight.
and how things were forever changed.
how i was forever changed, mostly.
things would never and could never go back to the way they were.
i couldn't go back to missouri and pretend that things were all good. that i was going back to my old version of normal.
because you can't visit haiti and come back thinking you're going back to your old life.
well i haven't cried about haiti since the week i came home.
but now, as i sit here, typing, all the memories and all the tears that come with them are flooding back.
and i realize how haiti impacts everything i do, every day.
it impacts how i feel a need to scrape every last piece of food off my plate now. how i feel guilty if i don't.
it impacts what i choose to say. because i'll never again say, "i'm starving". never ever again.
but above all else, it's shown me how much i can actually feel. how much this heart can actually feel. feel so much that it's like your heart is a time bomb and it's just a matter of time before your heart explodes.
because i've never felt love quite like that before. the kind of love that you want to give to everybody you meet. that's how it was there. that's how it was with everyone i ever saw in haiti. and that's how i want to live here, now.
i didn't know it was possible for my heart to love that much.
sure, i've loved my family. i've loved friends. i've loved a boy.
but this kind of love is the kind that convinces you to go back to haiti.
this is the kind of love that makes you want to adopt children one day.
this is the kind of love that makes you go crazy to find a job to get some money that will buy you a ticket. a ticket that will take you back home.
because i miss home.
and i plan on going back home, home to haiti, like any other kid who comes home to see his or her family.
to not go back would seem unnatural for me. like against my nature or something. because these bones ache. they ache to go back. they ache to go back and love like that again. love like Jesus does.
and if it was ever hard for me to imagine how our God loves, it isn't anymore.
|fala and i at church on sunday morning.|