Jun 10, 2013

What Haiti Taught Me

When I think back to my trip, several things stand out that I don't want to forget.  These are my biggest take aways from the wonderful gift that was my trip to Haiti:

The People.  They are amazing.  The joy they have defies their circumstance.  That is their gift and the lesson they passed on to me.

Children are children wherever  you go.  They crave affection, play, fun and laughter.  The kids were the most accepting and welcoming.  They would take your hand and walk along with you or want you to carry them, no matter where you were going.

We visited a deaf community in the village of Leveque.  These people were so kind and just thrilled that someone would take the time to come visit them.  They kept signing "God Bless You" and "I love you" over and over again.  They warmed my heart the most and I feel I gave them nothing but a smile in return.  I was so humbled.

Meeting strangers was so much fun for me.  I met so many people on this journey from Americans to Haitians.  I absolutely love hearing people's stories.  I learned that I'm a good listener and that I can make friends just for being me, not just because I'm the kids' mom or Chuck's wife, or my parent's daughter.  No one knew me for the roles I play in my daily life, but for who I was at the core and chose to befriend me anyways.  That was huge for me.

I learned that I'm a very deep, intense, quiet person by nature.  I've tried to not be this person for so long since I perceived that it wasn't a desirable quality.  Everyone likes an out-going, extroverted person so much more it seems.  And it's not that I don't love to talk, I do, but I learned I'm not good at initiating conversations, especially shallow small-talk (but I'm learning and slowly improving).  If someone were to come up and start talking with me, I could talk their ear off.  But I'm equally comfortable not talking to anyone for hours and just basking in the beauty of nature and communing with God in my soul.  I came to accept this about myself.  It is freeing to be true to who you are and not try to be what you think others want.  Crazy that I'm 40 and just now learning this lesson...better late than never, I guess.

Love costs pain sometimes.  Giving and serving can be painful.  It was painful and hard to spend hours in the overbearing heat painting, digging and walking from house to house.  It was painful to my heart to see the living conditions of so many and so many orphaned children. You leave a part of your heart with each child you play with or hold and with each person you connect with.



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