We've got it all figured out in advance. We may not know every detail of how every moment will play out, but we have our checklist of what we have to do for "them" and if we can check those things off our list, we can label the trip a success.
But what if the trip isn't about "them"?
What if it isn't about the good we'll do for others?
What if the trip is about "us"?
What if the circumstances that unfold provide the team bountiful opportunities for personal and spiritual growth? What if the importance of the experience isn't in the "doing" but rather what is being done to us?
What if the relevance of the trip lies in the details that don't make the headlines (i.e. how many children served, how many teeth pulled), but those that strengthen the fabric of our souls? What if those minute events change our perspective and expand our hearts, far beyond the scope of this single trip?
Could it be that our presence in Haiti had a deeper relevance than simultaneously operating a medical and dental clinic for children with disabilities in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere? By all means, those things are important, even critical. To alleviate a person's physical pain so they can live more comfortably and in a better state of health is both compassionate and loving.
But what about the other less glamorous moments? The times when we weren't doing anything on our assigned lists.
|When Phillip played with a child with a cleft palate sporting|
a bigger brighter smile than all of us combined...
|When John patiently had his hair braided...|
|When Auguste, a blind child, "brailled" Sonya's face...|
|When a boy with no hands learned to draw with his feet...|
|When Claire taught a child to play...|
|When Jaden had the chance to comfort a crying blind child...|
|When we fed crackers softened in infant formula to a 6 yr old|
who will never hold up her own head...
|When we performed the corniest rendition of 10 Little Monkeys |
Jumping On The Bed for St. Vincent's students...
|When a boy spontaneously started break dancing...|
|When the bell choir played Oh Suzanna for Dr Susan|
|When a teacher danced with a group of elementary students|
to the sound of Claire's singing and guitar
Maybe it's these moments that we are meant to have and reflect on when we re-enter our busy lives outside of Haiti. Maybe it's the strong faith and joy that we see in so many underprivileged and underserved children that keeps us coming back for more.
Maybe, just maybe, they are here to heal US, not the other way around.