Well, I’m now on my way to Haiti to teach others to document their stories. Right now, I’m sitting in Toronto Airport, putting in three hours until my flight into Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. i will be met there by my friends and we then drive across the border into Haiti….my home for the next three weeks.
It just so happens, I’m sharing this flight with an excited group of t-shirt toting Westjet employees on a ‘Hero Holiday’. They are headed to Puerto Plata to build 5 houses in 10 days. I guess it’s a humanitarian kind of day. I feel I am traveling in good company.
In spite of my own feeble time-strapped attempts at fundraising, friends and supporters have faithfully stepped forward to show their belief in what I am doing. I am so very grateful – from the bottom of my heart – for each and every envelope arriving in the mail, each and every handwritten note, each and every email or message containing words of encouragement. Many of you did not have extra money to spare and yet you gave.
I humbly thank you.
I think we often underestimate the power of our gestures. I no longer feel I am going alone…I feel I am carrying each of you with me, buoyed by your faith in me. Our lives have intersected – you are now a big part of what I am doing.
I really don’t know what to expect. All I can hope for during this journey is to place a cornerstone for someone to build the bridge from their past to their future. To see with fresh eyes how experiences recognized are the foundation of their destiny, how their individual story is an integral part of a much larger emerging story. Just like yours and mine.
As I sit here, thinking about what brought me to this point, I somehow sense it was inevitable. Reaching back through my journals, I read:
“Like donning a heavy coat to insulate us from the extreme cold of winter, I believe I too often wrap myself in a protective cocoon that keeps the intense joys and sorrows of the world from touching me intimately. While I make noises of sympathy when appropriate, show suitable anger at injustice, smile at good fortune, my armour prevents these emotions from reaching any real depth.”
I think that realization – many years ago – was a watershed moment for me.
People tell me this experience will be life-changing. I expect this. I want my life shaken up. It’s not the change that worries me, but the permanence of the change.
How often do we feel gripped by epiphanies; stand stunned with some sudden awareness that never crossed our minds before? We brush against death and swear to ourselves that from now on, we will appreciate life or friendship or family; we will take time for the things that really matter. We have a health scare and promise ourselves we are going to stop working so hard. Or perhaps we go through a spate of house and life cleaning, curbing our spending and clearing out the clutter, swearing that we are going to simplify.
But before we know it, we are buying and accumulating again; running too fast, working too hard. We fall back into our old habits and forget the bright shining nugget of clarity and insight that so moved and inspired us to change.
I don’t want this to happen to me.
People tell me this will break my heart. The truth of it is that I want my heart broken. I think we need more broken hearts in this world…broken for the right reasons.
On two recent Sundays, this song – Hosanna – has moved me to tears. It goes like this:
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity.
And so the change begins…