23 May 2016

the thing about adventure

On Emily's birthday night, Saturday, we watched Everest, the true story of a bunch of adventure addicts climbing Everest that had me on the edge of my chair and ended in a whole lot of frozen death.

They all knew getting into it that they could die.  And it's crazy expensive, and most never make it to the top.  But they wanted the adventure, every ounce of it.

And the thing about adventure is that you can't control it.

And the last two days have held a lot more of adventure than we had planned!

The road between Cap and Port is not for the faint of heart, nor for the mother-of-small-children-who's-lives-are-also-in-the-van's heart.  The first three hours of winding around the mountain peaks with no guardrails, buses barreling at you at breakneck speeds and humongous literal HOLES in the what-you-MIGHT-call roads...oh man.  I just had to close my eyes and do my devotions for a really, really long time. When we finally got through the mountains, the roads greatly improved, but it was impossible to ignore burned cars and huge piles of smoldering tires pushed, temporarily, to the side of the road. 

For a country smaller than my home state of Ohio, you sure feel like you cross through a whole lot of world to get 100 miles.

But we did. And arrived safely and tired and were so thrilled to be with Greg and Cathie, and to be treated to the first watermelon, lunch meat, Pringles and store-bought bread that we've had since being in America (there are many advantages to being in the big city!)  Some other old friends are here as well, the girls are thrilled to have a new home to explore, and it was GOOD to finally be with Greg and Cathie for a few days.

We fell into bed exhausted after a few games of Settlers, but were awoken with a start at 5 this morning by Cathie, Greg in the middle of a huge seizure.  After seizing for several minutes, he was unresponsive, a seizure very much so like one he had last October that resulted in him actually dying in the hospital and being brought back to life.

After working to make him comfortable and while Cathie and our friends were trying to find medial care, Matt sat down on the bed to pray with Greg.  He said as he prayed, praying away fear and worry and stress and burden and pain and seizing and for cleansing, he said that the Spirit of the Lord was so present, so...um...so easy to flow, I guess.  FLOWING.  He prayed, and said God felt so alive and well and dynamic, and he finished, opened his eyes, and Greg opened his.

Same moment.

It took a long time for Greg to figure out who Cathie was, much less who any of us were, what day it is, where he was, what was happening, but I am incredibly grateful for the miracle adventure we all witnessed today, and to be sitting here typing this with Greg playing a game with Ethan and Haylie, as if it never happened. 

(We did finally get him to a hospital, where he was told he needs to get to his doctor in the States...they are working to get out this week.)

To get the girls out of the house for a bit so he could rest, we took all the kids to a store.  Any store.  Because ANY store in Port, with grocery carts and air conditioning and meat and cheese and ICE CREAM is a big deal to our dusty Northern clan. 

So we went and walked and marveled and bought very little, because Port-au-Prince might HAVE Frosted Lucky Charms, but they are $8.37 A BOX...so we still have no cereal :)  At store number two we found a real-live trash can and some diet coke, and were about to check out when a woman walked right up to me, and said, "Look me in the face right now, and tell me who I am."


I felt like Greg trying to figure out who we were.

I looked into her face and wracked my brain and looked at her, and finally I realized she was Nicole, the guidance counsellor at my high school in Columbus, Ohio.  She grinned, but suddenly my joy at recognizing this fantastic woman who had been a huge support, especially, to my sister as a 15 year-old who's mom was dying, faded.

Because I remembered a few years ago, reading on FB about a man who was shot and killed outside of a bank in Port-au-Prince, and opening the article to realize that I KNEW that man.  That he was my old guidance counsellor's husband.  That he was in P-a-P with Nicole when it happened, getting money for the orphanage they had started together.

I looked at this woman, and thought, what are you doing here?  I never would have imagined that in Port, at a store, I would find her.  That she would STILL be working in Haiti.  She talked about her 27 children.  She talked about how she loves them and how special they are and how she lives here with them, and returns Stateside to the son that she and her husband had adopted from Port after the earthquake and the surgeries that had saved his life.  She showed me his picture, and she talked about how hard it all is, trying to be family to these kids that politics are making it SO HARD to be family to.

I showed her my children and held her hands and said you must miss him EVERYday.

she said. And we started to cry and she said how often she wants to quit, even today.  But perseveres.

And I was SO darn inspired by the adventure of this woman, this adventure of her life-poured-out that she has been utterly unable to control.  And yet lives on, passionately, pouring out her life and sweat and tears on people not her own, the very people who killed her husband and left him on the sidewalk.

The thing about adventure is it's HIS. 

Obedient, that's an adventure. What He can and will do with one who is ready to simply BE. OBEDIENT. 

It may leave you losing everything you have, like Greg and Cathie did, when the earthquake pulled it all down around them.  It may leave you losing your most precious person, and fighting everyday to BE His change in the world, to LOVE those nobody does, like my friend.  It may leave you bleeding your last breath out on the sidewalk, alone.  NOT ALONE.

It probably won't be the adventure you planned. And in most of the examples I know, from Jesus to Peter to Paul to most every courageous disciple in our lives today, it probably won't end in riches and glory and honor, bless the Lord.

It will probably have a lot of terrifying turns throughout, leaving your eyes-shut-tight in prayer, praying away your plans and begging for More Of Him, only. 

I'm not interested in no Everest.  Not for the fun of it.

But the sweaty, dusty, bloody and tear-stained adventure He WILL use to heal the sick and free the prisoners and illuminate the dark and love the unlovely? 

You have to know ahead of time that you could die. And that it's crazy expensive. And you may never see what you thought you were setting off to see.

But the prize, family, is JESUS.  The adventure, it's Jesus. The persevering, the bleeding, the sacrifice, the dying...it's Jesus.

And I want Him.  Every ounce.

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