In my area people will often enter a room with the phrase ‘sak pase’? Basically meaning how are you. The expected response is ‘nap boule’. Roughly meaning, we burn. This simple exchange caught my attention recently when a friend asked a well meaning question: What is it about Haiti that has you so drawn in; why is it that you feel so at home there?
I wanted to simply answer the question by saying nap boule. Instead I attempted to explain the burning.
Regarding your question about Haiti- I am not sure exactly why. This place just feels natural.
I could point to the fact that it is obvious missions work. But I shed myself of my God complex (the thoughts of “I can fix this place”) though I still believe I can help. Not because I am so amazing or anything but rather because another set of able hands and willing heart is something that can be used.
I could point to the kids and say they give me a purpose like never before. Which is true, and it isn’t. I do have a purpose but I have not abandoned my love of criminal justice and am planning to start my masters program again this summer or fall. I had a purpose before that drove me just as this purpose now drives me.
I could say it is the white people. I do love them dearly and they have become like family. But I have my people in America that I also love and hold close to my heart that are also like family. Not to mention my actual family.
I could come up with many reasons why this place feels right. But none of them would be it. The only way I can explain it is to try to relate it back to you. Have you ever been doing something or been somewhere and just felt right? Like remember that night I ran over to Pete’s and later I said I felt like it was just right. Like right timing, right words, right everything. That I felt like I was in the right place at the right time? Ever felt like that? Well take that and put it on a projector and place it over this whole city. Over all these people, these situations and this place. Then realize I feel the hand of God (as christianize as that sounds) over all of it. The peace. The fuel. The very presence of him like never before. During the good, especially during the bad and even on the moonless nights.
That is how I feel. All the time.
So it draws me in and gives me this reckless abandon for it all. I understand now why the merchant was willing to sell everything once he found the pearl. What I did not realize before from that story is that the merchant was buying that pearl of great value. Meaning somebody had it and did not value it as he did. Somebody was willing to sell it. This place is one of those pearls. When I see it, feel it, hold it in my hands, I am willing to do anything to possess it. To others it seems ridiculous and absurd, but to the one holding the pearl- I can say I feel like I am holding the greatest treasure.
And so it is one of those great treasures you clasp tightly to your chest and run around in joyous ecstasy, wanting to shout from the rooftops how lucky you are. and then I timidly hold it out in both hands for my loved ones to see, hoping- or rather praying- they see its value as well.
Which is why it crushes my heart when people do not recognize it as such. When people I love question my sanity for selling everything to buy it. When my coworkers say I am stupid for living in an uncomfortable place. When people doubt it, it hurts, because I see the value and beauty and I want nothing more than those I love to see it as well. To value it and understand my reckless abandon. To cheer me on in my joy at my great treasure.
Jubilee is my pearl. Come look in wonder with me.