Being in America for Thanksgiving
I have to admit, it was great being home for Thanksgiving! I could try to spin it a lot of different ways, but the main thing is that we got to be with family, we had an enormous amount of food, and it just felt right to be here in the states. I definitely thought about the kids a lot, and there were times that I felt a little guilty about all that we had. But in general, I just felt good being here.
If I allow myself to think about it, it is terribly difficult to be here while our kids are back in Haiti. I really want to be back there with them, to see them after school, and to make sure they have everything that they need to succeed. However, as I go about my normal day here in the states, I can definitely see how easy it is to go back to “normal” life. I can see how easy it would be to forget all of the people all over the world who do not know Jesus, who do not have the necessities of life (food and water, not ipads and electricity), and who do not even have the hope that tomorrow is going to be better. I spent the last 3 months in the middle of poverty, and I can find myself each day forgetting that there is a whole world outside of this where people have nothing.
On the other hand, I can be acutely aware of all that I have compared to the rest of the world. I can look around and begin to almost judge people for spending money (oddly on the same things that I spend money on) on something that they do not need while I know people whose lives would be changed if they ever saw that much money at the same time. Luckily my family was not insistent on going shopping while we were in town because I remember looking around heart broken at the amount of money that was spent last year in the weekend after Thanksgiving. The funny thing is that I do the same thing shopping online or in the weeks following, and I feel fine about it.
At the same time, when we are in Haiti, we do not take days off. The last 3 months we were in Haiti (for all but 9 days when we came back for an event) we worked 7 days a week only taking half days here and there just to keep our sanity. Then we come home and we are able to take multiple days off at a time, and we are going on a trip together in just a few weeks. I know we need the rest, but sometimes it almost feels like I don’t know what to do. When I used to live in America, I always had a job and I always knew what I was going to do when I woke up. Now that we are back in America, I just spent the last 10 days with my family in GA and I didn’t have to ask for any time off. It is both freeing and strange to be here and be able to set my own schedule.
Here is the question…How can you live in 2 different places (2 different worlds really) and be ok with it? How can you live in Haiti for most of the year, and long for the comforts of America and then come back to America and long to be with your children, the children that GOD has brought into your life? How can we come home for the holiday season (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and not feel guilty about the incredible amount of money that is spent on gifts (wants, not needs) and food while our children are back home without even running water? How can we speak at all of the churches we are speaking at and not think about how different it is to worship in a/c and under a pastor who has been taught how to preach and lead all while almost every church in Haiti is understaffed and almost every pastor has little or no training on how to lead their congregations?
The reason I titled this post “Being in America for Thanksgiving” is because I wanted you to get a feel of what it is like to be here after being there for so long. I don’t want you to think that I am judging anyone (other than myself perhaps) with this post, I just want you to get a feel for the difficulty of coming back here. I also hope that GOD uses this post to begin to open our eyes about how we should view the world during this time of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is so cool to think about Christmas in light of all the emotions that I am feeling being back here. It brings to light the idea of Jesus coming to save the world. He came to save our children just as much as He came to save anyone here, and in the light of living in 2 different worlds (Haiti and America), it is so comforting to know that to GOD, it is only 1 world. And as big as this world seems, He loves each of us the same. Sure He gave us different circumstances and different gifts but He gave all of us His Son! In the midst of all of these emotions and how difficult it is to live in 2 different places, that is what I hang my hat on…Jesus came here to save us from the one thing that nobody else could save us from.