You spend, instead, your whole time trying to get it, and even when you finally begin to understand bursts of culture, the deep roots are not within you...so you understand that it is the way it is, but never really inherently why.
But Leme. I was talking to him in the office about how he and his wife Guesica were doing (remember they were married in December) and about how things were working out with the home they are renting. He began talking about some of the complexities of it, and I said, "huh, we'd love to see it someday."
He stared at me awkwardly, and finally visibly shrugging off his culture for ours through friendship, he asked quietly, "Then WHY do you never come? You have NEVER come to visit us, or come to our house!"
The cat out of the bag, I exclaimed back, "YOU have never invited us to your house! We would love to come to your house, but you've never asked us to come!"
It wasn't until we were all chatting on his roof a few days later that we finished the conversation.
"Why?" we implored, asking lots of questions and starting to be filled with dread, realizing how many dear friends over the years we have not "honored" by visiting them at home, all the while feeing a bit sad that no one ever invited us no matter how many times we've invited them to our place.
"Because they might say NO," Leme continued, "and that would be very shameful."
I began to realize that of all the many times we've visited friends, it's because they were sick or mourning or struggling, and we'd asked to come pray with them...we'd hadn't been invited.
I laughed in the cooling evening breeze with Leme about my mother's voice, still in my head, "You can't just invite yourself over, Stacey!"
"If you care about someone," Leme shared, "You go and visit them, and if they care about you, they will be very honored that you troubled yourself to come to their home."
As soon as he said it, the image of Zaccheus up in his tree came to me.
Zaccheus didn't invite Jesus over. Jesus noticed him and told him, "Come down, for I am coming to your house," and that was the day salvation came.
Jesus was not some high king, waiting loftily on his throne for others to come to his feet. He's always on the move, meeting us, calling us, where we are, always wanting to come in.
It's not the first time that Haitian culture rings similar to ancient Biblical culture.
And you'd think we'd be used to it by now, feeling continually awkward when we're stateside, homeless, needing to ask people if we can please come and stay with them!
Grateful to worship a God, today, who is always ready to COME...never forcing Himself in our doors, but always very ready to draw near!