Friday, February 19, 2016

Why Ask Why? It's About the Heart.

Port au Prince is NOT a lovely city.  Even with notable improvements in areas like the airport, goats climbing thru trash heaps, snail-paced traffic spewing carbon monoxide betwixt water-filled potholes, and a strong smell of human body odor and urine, don't add up to a tourist spot.

Even staying at the lovely home of my midwife friend Beth McHoul is a lesson in Haitian security.  A thief was robbing ladies coming to & from the maternity center of their cell phones and cash.  The Heartline Ministries guards seem to have fixed that for now:  A guard watches the street from a little tower, and as always, 2 mastiffs are on duty.

Here we are in Haiti again, You, Greg and I, as well as lots of Haitian people and  some American missionaries, and others.  Even though (or maybe, because?)  I've done this trip enough times to stop counting, I am asking myself, and You, exactly why I keep doing it.  I know the first trip was kind of a humanitarian adventure/educational experiment in embracing the "third" =developing world.  It deepened my heart and broke it, too.  The first evening that I saw the small bags of bread, charcoal and bottles of drinking water carried into the Ravine in Petionville, and heard the church choir start up, my perspective of the world shifted forever.  Sometimes, after that, I woke up weeping.  Later, after the Port au Prince earthquake, I could not weep for months.   But Haiti has become an important part of my life.

   Haitian material poverty, maternal mortality, along with myriad other issues, are so huge and complex that it's absurd to think I am "fixing anything" by coming here a time or two per year and helping teach or support some midwives.  But I love to come back and visit, and do a little bit of work, in Haiti.  I know now that I'm coming here to reach deeper into my own heart.  I also know it's part of what You want for me, and a way to teach me and reach me.  Thanks for that. Lord, from my deepest center.

I love to hang with the Heartline Midwives, share our life stories, birth stories, and a few of their tasks.  I only visit, bring a few bottles or boxes of  medicine,  check a few mamas.  Still, the impact that prenatal care, family planning, or safe midwifery and birth makes in one life, or a family's life, and ripple effect in many hundreds of lives, gives me hope, in spite of it all.  It's evident that we humans can't "Fix" this.  But we also know that You ask us to do what we can, and You honor it when we do.  It means something anyway, to me, to You, and even to some Haitian people.  Do the numbers really matter?  Maybe not at all.

It will make my heart glad to see my Haitian friends and god-child, and see their lives unfolding, and to deliver the silly, small gifts that fit in our luggage.  This time, new t-shirts, a set of plastic dishes, medicine for the hospital.  Greg will build cabinets in the Flower of Hope School, and meet with the staff, as a new Board member.  I'll help teach some classes on managing blood pressure and pre-eclampsia in pregnancy.  I'll give blood at the Red Cross; after being in Haiti, I can't donate in the US.  We will do each task in full realization that these tasks are drops in the ocean.  But we will do it from the heart, and in doing so, You nourish us.  We can only do one thing at a time.  Why not make it something fundamentally helpful to just one human?

These trips have a humbling, infinitesimal but real, rational basis and a very large spiritual one; I just accept that.  Thank you again, Lord, for the clarity to keep it simple, and the gift of coming to Haiti.


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