I can’t open my eyes to look around.
Yet somehow I know that nothing will ever be the same.
The only sound I hear is my heart beating – racing to find a way to escape this chest of mine.
And then it happens.
My ears clear and I hear something I have never heard before: DESPAIR.
This is the sound of total loss of hope.
The sounds vanquish me; rushing in and crushing the deepest parts of my heart.
The wailing of mothers digging for the bodies of their children.
The muffled screams of those who are buried and injured.
The desperate raving of people without hope.
I manage to wipe my face with the inside of my shirt to help clean out the dirt.
Through burning eyes, I lift my head and realize for the first time exactly where I am.
My eyes turn hot with salty grey tears and I can feel the bile begin to rise in my stomach.
I try to let out a wail of my own, ready to join the cries of those around me, but my throat is coated with dust, and there is only silence – the sound of a broken spirit.
I cough and cough to try and clear my throat.
But before I can speak, my thoughts are halted by a small movement up ahead.
I strain through the tears to focus in on the pile of rubble.
Only…it is not a pile of rubble at all. It’s moving.
There, crumpled on the ground beside some trash, is a young boy with his head in the dust.
My dusty little boy with long eyelashes.
Even from far away I can see how scared and hurt he is.
The despair is swirling around him and he isn’t even strong enough to lift his head and cry.
“I have to get to him”, I think to myself.
Using the remains of a nearby car I manage to pull myself to my feet.
But before I can make much progress, a sudden, raging pain attacks my leg and I’m brought to my knees again. For the first time I feel pain somewhere other than my heart and I look down to see a rusty piece of metal lodged deep in my leg.
I don’t know if I can make it to him so I decide to call out to my boy instead.
I cough and spit, trying to clear my clogged throat.
I need to call out to him. I need let him know that he is not alone.
That I see him. That I will find a way to him…
But my throat is too dry and my lungs are too weak.
I quickly realize that the only way to get his attention is to make the journey, only a half a block, on my mangled leg.
I am garnering the courage to stand through the pain when something lightly falls on my head.
Cool rain to wash away these wounds and clear my throat, I hope to myself.
But when I reach up to touch the top of my head, my hand returns dry.
I have never seen rain like this.
And that’s when I hear it.
The crumbling of an existence…the breakdown of a city.
My eyes dart to my boy on the corner. I can see he is curling up…losing hope.
The crumbling grows louder and I watch his sweet head receive the dusty rain from above.
“Oh God, not again“, I plead through sobs.
“Please, not again.”
The chalky rain falls; harder and quicker with every moment.
I rise to my feet, ignoring the pain.
The ground begins to shake, almost as if it senses my blooming determination and decides to meet it with more obstacles. As the earth moves like a wave beneath me, I see a piece of concrete fall and land within reach of my dusty boy.
His whole body jerks and he begins to scream.
He has finally decided he needs someone.
And I have decided that I will be that someone.
I run to him as fast as I can, struggling to stay on my feet.
Into the noise around me I scream a prayer too desperate to put into words.
I dodge debris.
I hobble my way to him.
The space around me grows tighter and darker with every step.
I lift my arm to shield my eyes from the dust and use the other to drag my leg behind me.
I am only 25 yards from him now.
I will myself on.
“He needs you!”
The ground trembles violently and I feel the buildings around me begin to fall.
My dusty boy weeps.
I’m within arms reach now…
about to wrap him in my arms…
and shield him from the danger…
but my foot catches a piece of concrete…
and before I can hold him tight…
…out of the bed,
onto the hardwood floor,
dripping in sweat,
drowning in despair.
Haiti was in me before I was ever in Haiti.
I started having this dream five years ago.
Before I planned to go or began praying for the people, Haiti was in me.
This was the first of my many dreams of Haiti.
Sometimes the dreams are made of markets and mountains.
Sometimes they are made of playing soccer in the dirt.
But most of the time they look and feel like what you just read:
me, frantically making my way to the dusty boy…never quite making it to him.
As I prepare to return to Haiti this weekend I am feeling a confusing mix of nostalgia, burden, and eagerness resting inside of me.
I feel as if no one, myself included, is quite attuned to what God is stirring in me.
As soon as I get a grasp on what He is preparing me for, it eludes me again.
As soon as I find myself finally able to articulate what He is speaking to me, the words, along with my certainty, leave as soon as they came.
It’s a great holy chase He has me on.
For the longest time, I’ve fought against this part of our relationship.
I like to be in control and I struggle to give up the reins of this thing called life.
But I’m learning more and more every day that control is just an illusion.
It’s a mirage.
He has shown me that when I strive for control, I spit on who He is.
Despite what we think, demanding control of our plans doesn’t bring God glory.
Instead, surrendering our control is what points to who He is.
My journey to this week in Haiti has been one of great confusion.
I have been straining and striving to understand what He is doing in me.
I have worked to be able to put into words the burden I feel for the nation of Haiti.
I have cried and prayed and pulled those reins tighter and tighter trying to make these wild pieces fit together in some beautiful way.
And this, friends, is why I have been so confused.
See, when we wrestle to gain – and keep – control, it leads to confusion.
By trying to cling to something that isn’t supposed to be ours in the first place, we further pollute our hearts.
And because of that, our hearts that should be so quick to say,
“Your will be done”
now rush to ask,
“Why?” and “Are you sure?“.
My year has been full of questions like:
Are you sure?
What is the point of all of this?
But as I find myself packing for my return trip to Port-au-Prince,
I am emptied of those questions.
I am void of any doubt.
I am not in control and it feels exactly as it should.
I am getting on the plane tomorrow morning with reinless hands.
I will spend my week in Haiti both full of expectation and saying “Your will“.
I will be hiking and lifting and sweating and I will not be looking for the pieces to fit.
I will be playing in the dirt with rowdy little boys and getting my hair braided to the sound of giggling little girls and I will not be thinking about the why.
It’s not because I don’t care.
And it’s not because I’m afraid.
And it’s definitely not because I don’t know with everything in me that God is up to something extravagant.
It’s because I’ve already found my place.
I’m along for the ride.
Following His lead.
At his disposal.
A wasted life.
In many ways, Haiti feels like a wave to me.
A wave that is about to crest, but doesn’t quite have the the guts or the energy to tumble over just yet.
It feels like an already – not – yet.
The collision of my past and my present.
And as I sink deeper into this calling and dive further in this love,
I trust this wave, His wave, to carry me exactly where I need to be.
Wave after wave,
I am His.
Wave After Wave – Andrea Marie