I’ll always remember my first flight into Haiti.
I was heading into Port-au-Prince to meet up with total strangers I’d be living with for several months in a strange land, and was one of the only people speaking English on the plane. I remember looking out that window upon descent and seeing an overwhelming landscape that squeezed my heart like none other. I remember listening to the strange language all around me, wondering if everyone else on this chatty flight were old friends, somehow.
But most, I remember be startled upon landing, because as soon as the wheels hit the ground, the plane erupted. Clapping, waving arms, yelling out hallelujah’s, amens and what I’ve since learned to be “Bless the name of the Lord!”s filled the plane, and I couldn’t figure out what’s going on.
I’ve never flown into Haiti since with anything less.
Haiti has a strong grasp on the idea that any time your body leaves the ground, flies through the air at ridiculous speeds and heights and returns again safely home, it is worth celebrating and praising the Lord.
They are right.
Our girls have been on lots of flights over the years, and they’ve noticed that this doesn’t happen when your plane lands anywhere else. Clapping, hollering and praising the Lord only happens when you land in Haiti.
It was such a joy for Matt and I, a few weeks ago as we finally came home after the longest time we’ve spent in America since 2007, to be surprised to watch both girls explode with the plane the moment we touched down…giggling, clapping their hands and yelling out yays! and amens!
They are home.
The extreme heat, trying to get caught up, starting the new school year, internet issues and adjusting has paled that joy of being home a little bit, but with two weeks under our belts, that joy has settled back in, too.
It is so good to be home.
It is so good to be living back in continual community, sweating together and helping each other and laughing and serving together. It is so good to see Nora in Granny’s lap, to send the girls off to the birthday party of a little friend today, to have many in and out of our home each day, to meet new students and to hold the hands of returning ones. To lift our voices together in chapel.
To pray with Ezechiel again as he continues faithfully on in Baron. To cook for visitors from around the globe and hear their stories (this two weeks, it’s Charles Lake, David Dick, Pam Simpson and Leroy Lindsay, along with 6 pastors from Port-au-Prince).
It is good to drive through the crazy streets and see the small joys of children playing, be pained to pray over the intake of utter poverty, to be inspired to love deeply over strangers living together and loving, to be challenged again and again by all of it. To draw close to Him.
It is good to be uncomfortable again…I sweat, I squirm, I wrestle before Him. It is good to be see the girls anxious to start school Monday. It is good to hear Matt and Edlin teasing each other again, good to see the mutual love and respect he and the other leaders at Emmaus have for each other. It is good to be grateful again, so grateful, for so many little big things…some electricity. Water coming out of the tap...IN my home. Having a refrigerator. Being able to read. Being able to send our girls to school. Tile floors.
I know I've talked about some of the harder things since being back, but I reminded today as we work, pick up visitors, make bread and get ready for a new week what a joy it is to simply be in His presence. And to be grateful.