There is something about Haiti that allows a person to take a deep breath and finally look at the scars they have acquired throughout life, lamenting the pain and anguish that was each tear of flesh. It also allows an individual to open themselves up to surgery when needed to rip open some old scars and clean out infections that have been rotting under the surface. The past month I have been in surgery, opening battle wounds; attending to old lacerations I have let fester under seemingly healthy scabs. It has been painful and jarring and a serious blessing from God.
When I first came to Haiti I thought that I would keep all of my past buried. Every scar inflicted by someone else, every wound inflicted by myself- hidden happily beneath a placid smile. I did not want to reveal my brokenness. I did not want to show them all my junk. I am a missionary for heaven’s sake. We are supposed to have our stuff together… or at least hidden better than everyone else. But then I was introduced to this place and well, someone forgot to tell these people they were supposed to hide their shit. Because they just kind of let it all hang out. It’s jolting. It’s unnerving. It’s freeing like you couldn’t imagine. Suddenly instead of holding your breath hoping nobody will see the lumps under the sheets or question the bulging closet door you can take a deep breath and admit, you’re a disaster. You do not have it all together and there are dust bunnies under your bed. Appearances matter less and the truth matters more. And the truth is- I am a mess.
I have been broken, I have been hurt. I have twisted things to be self-degrading. I blame myself and feel guilt at what isn’t mine. I believe if I do all of these things that people will like me more. If I hold my breath and sweep my junk under the rug, people will want to come over. So we all pretend to have pristine places and always assume the other person’s is for real and it’s yours that’s a lie. Until we feel the isolation and loneliness that comes with pretending to be something we are not. We are not okay. And it is okay that we are not okay. We live in a broken world with sinful men and unless we are not engaging- we are going to get hurt. But if we have the guts to leave the wound open, we may just get the help we need to clean it and allow it to heal. So it is no longer a lump under the sheets, a bulge in the closet or a dust bunny under the bed that we need to hide. Instead it becomes a scar to be proudly shown off as a sign of strength of self, of community and of the love from Pops.