Most often we hide in our home, trying not to listen in on our children next door.
But last night, after many weeks of cooking for visitors, we decided to go out, which in Haiti, is the same as deciding to go on "Date Night: Survivor Haiti, couple's edition."
First, we hit a major traffic jam, because this tow truck was trying to drag this bus out of the alley:
...and instead ripped the entire bottom out of the bus, leaving the rest sitting in it's place.
Then, after crazy town, we finally arrived at the restaurant that has the most awkward service (the French owner yells continually at the wait staff) but the best food and best atmosphere. It also has this, for obvious reasons:
So we get there at 4:45 (you know you gotta get back before the wails of bedtime) and they seat us for dinner, and then say the cook will arrive around 6. Probably.
Soooooo, we leave.
We go to the place that has the second best food, but one of the worst atmospheres (think blaring pop music mixed with blaring Spanish soap operas on tv, in a tiny little room), and there is a huge sign that today there are four specials on milkshakes! Coconut, Chocolate Doughnut, Grape and Vanilla Cookie...sa-weet!
We order burgers, (because I DO try not to be hypocritical on the no dessert until dinner rule), we talk about grown-up stuff and catch up on our lives (what bliss), yelling over the Spanish, and then we order our milkshakes!
Unfortunately, we don't have that kind.
OK, we order a different kind.
Oh, we don't have that kind either.
We order ANY kind.
We don't have any milkshakes.
But the sign says you have milkshakes. On the easel, when you come in the door.
Oh, we DO have milkshakes.
You have milkshakes?
Just not right now.
OK. When WILL you have milkshakes?
L a t e r. Probably.
So we go to yet a third place, not wanting to go home earlier than we absolutely had to, but unable to stand Triumfo del Amor any longer. Just. let. the. potential. father. of. everyone's. baby . die.
It's the newish, only ice cream shop, where the lady acts like she wishes you were dead, the ice cream flavors are unmarked, and the seating on the road smells continually of sewage.
She still wished we were dead, and when I asked about two flavors, she stared at me blankly and called them "brown" and "the other brown", and then when we tried to pay our 100 gourdes bill with a 1000 gourdes bill, she had no change.
There wasn't ONE gourde in that cash-register. She stared at us for a really long time, and when it became clear that we weren't giving back our ice cream, and we also weren't going to give her a 900 gourdes tip, she finally told us we could go out on the street and try to make change with passerbys.
We laughed about this country the whole way home, because you can laugh and be grateful...or you can be frustrated every day of your life. I'm so thankful to have Matt the comedian to share life with.
And yet there are a thousand examples of how life in Haiti is a thousand times harder than even date night.
But you know what it makes me realize?
There is just about NOTHING in God's Word that makes good sense to the world.
This Christian life we are in, brothers, is just gonna keep on feeling and seeing and sounding like total FOOLISHNESS to the world around us. Sometimes, sisters, it is even going to feel like utter foolishness to us.
There are many times that Matt and I look at each other and our children and shake our heads. What are we DOING here?
Because honestly? A lot of times it just doesn't make sense to our human brains.
And yet there is something greater that makes even LESS sense.
Despite the many frustrations and difficulties, despite the many heart-breaks and set backs and struggles, His "foolish" calling walks alongside His crazy peace. His genuine love. His true joy.
Haiti has our hearts, and God has given us that.
He gives us this great, big, deep, passionate, best-we-got, deep-as-it-goes heart for those around us, for this country. He breaks us when our Haitian brothers and sisters are breaking, He overjoys us when they are overjoying.
Is there a lot in your life not making sense right now? Stop trying to make sense of it, family.
Do you keep sensing this urge to go talk to such-and-such, or to see something come to life in your church, or to help in a place no one is helping, or to give in a way you really can't afford...yet your common sense keeps on talking you out of it?
If it seems quite foolish and it definitely wasn't your own idea, take it to the throne and ask God if that foolishness might be coming from Him. He is the God of the great and only wisdom, which should look quite opposite from the wisdom of the world.
And I don't promise you that obeying will one day make sense. You may well still find yourself on date night, waiting on a crowded street with a symphony of horns and sunshine, bantering with a grouchy five-lanes of drivers in a language not your own, wondering how in the world you got here.
But you will know Who brought you. And you will know Him better for all the relying in all the foolishness. And He will grace you with the things which money and success can never buy: His peace, His growth, His love for that which you never could have mustered on your own.
Because if it comes from ourselves, or if we can do it on our own...it's worth about as much as Cap Deli "having" milkshakes.