Juggler of words and children…collector of pottery shards
Yesterday, I was finally able to cry. It has been three weeks since the earthquake devastated Haiti, and my heart has been heavy with grief, but somehow I was just so overwhelmed by it that I was beyond tears.
It is not that I don’t care, or have removed myself from the reality. Actually, I have obsessed with the news out of Haiti. Each morning, I reach for my phone to check the latest on CNN. I scroll through the headlines, searching for some new tidbit countless times each day. It is the last thing I do before going to sleep at night. As the days have worn on post disaster, I have had to search more and more diligently for some new word of the land of my daughters’ birth.
Moments have slipped into days. Days have drifted into weeks, and still I have kept the vigil.
But I couldn’t shed tears until yesterday when I ready the Livesays’ last blog post. Then, I knew it was time. I made a cup of tea and told the kids I would be in my room for a bit. I sat down on the floor with the cup of tea in front of me as the setting sun cast long shadows on the hardwood.
I wondered how I could be surrounded by such beauty, and security, my kids shouting and playing happily right outside my door, when death and destruction stalked the streets of Port-Au-Prince.
I began to sob. I felt like I could cry forever. I wept for the dead, and those who are forever maimed. I wept for the suffering of the children in tent cities, traumatized and separated from their parents. I wept for the countless thousands who are sleeping under sheets, and tarps as the rainy season looms on the horizon. I wept for the mothers who watched their babies die, and for others who sit outside crumbled buildings where their children are entombed.
No reason to stay. Unable to leave.
I wept for people like the Livesays, who were in Haiti before the earthquake- good people, doing good work, who are now forced to evacuate, leaving their hearts behind.
And I asked God why. Why? Why? Why? Why Haiti?
It was a storm of grief- the tears of a heartbroken child. Somewhere in the middle of it, I remembered the last time I cried lie that.
It was four and a half years ago, and I was weeping over Haiti then too. At the time, it appeared we were only weeks away from bringing home our babies when we received word that the Haitian government had suddenly nullified all passports of children who were in the adoptive process. We would be required to start the passport process over from the beginning. It was another open-ended delay, and a terrible crushing blow.
I was at the absolute end of all my strength that day, and I lay facedown on the floor of my living room and wept until the carpet beneath me was soaked, and I was completely exhausted. I was so angry at God that I slammed shut the door to my heart, driving Him away. I didn’t want to talk to Him. I knew He could have prevented my heartbreak and did not.
When I finally spoke to Him, my prayer was a bitter, ugly thing. I asked Him if he could please just close the door a little earlier next time, because it hurt too much to think I was about to take a step closer to my girls, only to have the door slammed in my face.
At last, I was quiet. Spent. That was when He spoke to me.
He whispered to my spirit that nothing could separate me from his love…not even my anger.
Grace, unfathomable grace, has a way of drawing heartbroken children back into the Father’s arms, and that is where I ran headlong. I still didn’t understand, but I was willing to trust that He loved me, and in His wisdom, He had it all under control.
That day was a turning point for me. It was a moment when I learned what was my responsiblity and what was God’s. I found out that I am absolutely miserable when I try to take on what belongs to Him.
I think all of us want to believe God is big enough, good enough, to save against all odds those trapped in the rubble. We stretch our faith to conceive that He can deliver, even when it seems there is no way.
But how much greater faith is required to believe that he can somehow wade His way into the midst of death, decay, suffering, and loss, and make something glorious? How much larger is our belief when we are able to take our hands off the controls, and trust that He is wise, good, loving, and able?
I don’t understand right now, but I take dear Haiti and place her in your hands once again. Please help.
Precious Life Giver, walk through the tombs. Sweet Rose of Sharon, disperse the scent of death. Balm of Gilead, heal. Give the oil of gladness, instead of mourning. Beauty for ashes….