May 21, 2011

More is More

Every time I fly out of Haiti, I look forward to two things in flight: free mini Toblerone and in-flight entertainment. Call me extravagant - I love free episodes of Park and Rec and The Office and 30 Rock and Community. Thursday was no different - I gobbled up my delicious Swiss chocolate and almonds and settled in.

What a rude awakening to have the entertainment peppered with this man and his commercials. As I flew out over people living on one meal a day if lucky, under tarps that are battered by rain and wind and sun and dust, eating chocolate and going back to the place I will always be able to return.

I've now seen the commercial on three flights and heard it between news programs. Welcome back to America, Sarah. Enjoy your stay. And have another chocolate.

May 20, 2011


This morning I woke up to mountains outside my window. I woke up under quilts and down comforters, wrapped in warm clothes. I drank a cup of coffee and tried to wrap my mind around leaving mosquitos and warmth and waves and wake up calls of goats and roosters just a day ago. In the coming weeks I expect I will be decompressing and reflecting here. I am ready to withdraw for a while, but I need somewhere to write and wrestle with a lot of this.

I will be the first one to tell you that I have the best friends in the entire world. Growing up I shared best friends with my older sister Becca. The four of us would spend our days playing in dental offices, having hands and knees races, watching the same 3 movies, walking to Texaco for Nerds and Kwenchers, and eventually seeing each other maybe once or twice a year.

When I went to college I found myself surrounded, only by the goodness of God, by friends that lived life so transparently, so vulnerably, with me. They are the kind of friends that drop anything to see you. They are the kind of friends who share their beds and their food and their cars. They are generous and full of love and life.

When I went to Haiti, I had no idea what I was in for. I had no idea the friends I would make in a year. I had no idea what God had in store for me.

But I knew that I would have a best friend in Diana. She is, and always will be, my cheri. She is a friend unlike any I have or will ever have. We bonded over failed cookies, broken Creole, Step Up, sharing music, and dancing. And when I moved to Haiti full time a year ago, I sat down with her two hours after landing and wept. After 9 months apart, it only took 2 hours to be ready to break over my circumstances in front of her.

We rarely spent time apart in the last year. It felt weird to go 12 hours without seeing her. And now I am going on 30 hours away from Diana. I'm not sure how to adjust.

Diana is impressive. In our year living together, I have seen how much people around her are drawn to her, especially in times of weariness or pain. Diana's home is for many people an escape. She is welcoming with her couches, good music, and cold water (or ji, if you're lucky). She is a continuous stream of positive energy. Her personality matches the bright colors she loves and uses in her house. She is sentimental, keeping small trinkets to remind her of particular moments. She knows how to live life, how to pull every single moment out and savor it. She will tell you she can't cook - she lies. Diana is like the sun, warm and inviting. She's a wise sage and a young spirit. She's someone you have to meet to really "get".

I am incredibly blessed by all of my friends. The Lord has so faithfully and intentionally put good people on my path. God knew what He was doing when He ordered my steps in Haiti and prepared a place for me there. He knew how desperately I would need a safe community, and He provided me with Diana. I know that if we were in the US or Canada, we would still be friends. But Haiti is now so tangled within our friendship, I can't untie the two. Leaving Haiti is as hard as leaving Diana, but that's because they go hand in hand.

I have left Haiti full time, and with that I have transitioned back to limited face time with Diana. And while that tempts me to tears and grief, I am going to try and instead thank the Lord for giving us our time together.

Cheri - I miss you a million already. Way more than the king bed. And only you know that's saying something.

May 10, 2011

tears and mercy

i know, o Lord, that Your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
let your mercy come to me, that i may live;
for your law is my delight.
- psalm 119:77

by thy birth, thy cross, and passion;
by thy tears of deep compassion,
by thy mighty intercession,
Lord and Savior, help us.
- Henry Alford

And the only way you can rejoice in sufferings
is if you find your hope in the sufferings of Jesus
over anything anybody can take away from you here.
- Kevin Cawley