I have to wear a jacket. Inside. At. All. Times.
Many people have asked me, “April, how are you adjusting to being back in America?” Though I know they mean well, most often times I will start to cry. So I guess that is a good indicator of how I am adjusting.
I sat with a coworker yesterday at an delicious pizzeria. She was talking, and I was trying to pay attention, but my focus kept drifting out the window. Behind this tiny pizzeria was a beautiful landscape. Despite the fact that it feels like winter, there was bright green grass that looked healthy, and some radiant flowers still in full bloom. I thought, “how beautiful is America .” We keep our lawns manicured. We plant beautiful flowers. We strive to keep our land clean. I contrasted it with how barren Jubilee is. We would cheer when weeds would sprout. Everything is brown and dusty.
I was riding along with another coworker just a few days earlier. He asked about Haiti. What was it like? He wanted to know. Was it really as dirty and ugly as all of the pictures? I just got a huge smile on my face and said “It was so beautiful.” Yes, Jubilee has barren ground, but how much more precious is a single tree then? The flag hanging off the world trade centers, after the collapse, was so beautiful because of the barrenness all around. That is what Jubilee is. A backdrop to what may be the most beautiful story every written in the history of mankind. The story of God’s love, etched in the fiber of each of our students; A Joseph’s coat of colors against a dirt backdrop. How much more radiant is that?
In Jubilee it was easy to see the beauty. For the comparisons were little. In America, it is much harder. I have chosen to get into a line of work were I get to see people at their ugliest. People do not call the police when good things are happening. They call them when guns, violence, destruction of property or soul are happening. I must go rushing in. In the barrenness of Jubilee, I got to be part of the beautiful moments. In the beauty of America, I am part of the ugly moments. What a switch is that.
I am adjusting. I am picking up the pieces of my broken heart. I am placing them on the foot of the cross, You asked for this Papa, so here it is. More broken than before. Make something beautiful out of this dust.
He calmly scoops up the dust of my heart, and holds it close to his own, as if it were a prized possession. He whispers a promise I cling to: I Am.