Today, I wished I knew more Creole.
My life changed forever in 2012 on my first ever trip to Haiti. I fell in love with the beautiful people and their huge hearts, contagious joy, and hunger for the Lord. In all honesty, I went on that first trip because I had a genuine desire to bless people, but they blessed me far more than I could ever bless them. Physically, they have so little, yet they’re filled with an unexplainable joy that shook the very innermost part of who I am.
I had always considered myself to be a joyful person. I love life, I love adventures, and I love people. I’ve always tried to live a life full of laughter, song, and happy memories. But, the Haitian people taught me that joy is not measured by our attitude or disposition during the good times. When our real joy is revealed is when we have nothing. When we’re at the end of our rope. When things aren’t like we think they’re “supposed” to be. When we’re exhausted and frustrated and burnt out.
In December 2015, I missed a trip to Haiti that I had prayed over, planned for, and been so excited about for over a year (because of my pregnancy). Even though I knew it was the right decision for my baby’s health and my own health (especially now, with news of the Zika virus), it was such a hard decision to make. Haiti holds a very special place in my heart, and although I don’t know when the next time I’ll be able to go back will be, I know that I’ll go back there one day eventually, because the calling on my heart to share the love of Jesus with those people is one of the clearest, most obvious things Jesus has ever revealed to me.
In the meantime, I’m here. I go through my daily routine in my own little world right here in North Carolina, and to be completely honest… sometimes it’s draining. Sometimes, when you’re forced to put your dreams, passions, and calling on the back burner so you can work to have insurance and help pay the bills, you start to feel suffocated. You start to lose sight of what really matters. That’s where that kind of joy the Haitians taught me about comes in.
I’ve been praying a prayer lately and I didn’t realize until today how “dangerous” it is. Have you ever heard someone say that it’s “dangerous” to pray for patience because you don’t know how the Lord will teach you to have patience? Well, come to find out, this prayer I’ve been praying is a lot like that.
Lord, show me your glory and faithfulness in the midst of my every day, mundane routine.
Well, today He did just that… and it made me wish I knew more Creole.
On my lunch break, I went to Wendy’s and noticed the lady in the window had a thick, familiar accent. When I asked her where she’s from, she told me with a big, wide smile. Haiti.
She must have thought that I’m an absolute lunatic, because what did I do? I busted out crying. Right there, in the Wendy’s drive thru, as she’s handing me my cheeseburger and sweet tea out the window. Then, I showed her my necklace, which is one of my most treasured pieces of jewelry. My Mom gave it to me right after my first trip to Haiti and I wear often as a reminder of the place that I love so much. Her big, brown eyes lit up like a child’s on Christmas morning. She told me she’s from Port au Prince, a place I could never explain to you unless you’ve experienced it for yourself, and I told her that I go to Jacmel. The tenderness and grace and hunger in her eyes was mixed with the same humble pride in their country I’ve seen in so many of the precious women I’ve had the privilege to wrap my arms around during my time on Haitian soil.
Before I finally pulled away, after sharing this moment with a complete stranger, I smiled through the tears and said, “Bonswa, my friend!” She had tears rolling down her cheeks too as I drove off, and was saying something in Creole that I wish I could have understood.
When I say I busted out crying, I mean… ugly, mascara-ruining tears. Like, how-in-the-world-am-I-going-to-go-back-into-work? tears. I hope she saw my heart and love for her people through that mess.
So then, of course, I asked God why would You let that happen!?
I was already having a hard day (a hard week, really) and an emotional melt down was the last thing I needed. And then, it all made perfect sense…. It’s exactly what I asked for.
Sure, I didn’t get to go back to Haiti this year, but I found a Haitian to connect with right here in Charlotte… literally across the street from where I spend the majority of my time (work). In the midst of my boring little routine, He gave me exactly what I asked for… a little glimpse of His glory and faithfulness. He loves me so much, that He reminded me (when I needed it most) of that joy my Haitian friends taught me about all those years ago. Come to find out, He’s still using them to teach me about that joy four years later.