A few nights ago, I shared more than a meal with eleven guys. I shared Jesus, laughter, stories, tears, and my heart with them.
We went around the table talking about one topic: what was the most unexpected part of their experience in Haiti. The underlying result was definitely fellowship through being vulnerable and trusting in one another and God. One man shared how he didn’t want to come (to the point of which he didn’t even pack his bags–his wife did without telling him) but was so incredibly thankful he did. Another said he was surprised at how smooth everything went, given that they didn’t really have a schedule or plan (to which multiple responded, “God’s plan!”). The witness that resonated with me the most was when a young man said he had experienced and seen love at an orphanage. That’s how I felt about Anne Jean during my first trip to Haiti in October 2013. I journaled the following minutes after I met her.
I’ve seen acts of love and I’ve heard stories of love, but I’ve never seen love itself. I didn’t even know that was possible before Anne. But the Lord allowed me to see LOVE and THAT is incomparable…I miss Anne dearly. I love you so much, my sweet angel, and you will always have a place in my heart and life. You managed to simultaneously fill my heart completely and leave it empty when you walked out that door. In about an hour, you changed my life entirely. Thank you for showing me love. For only being three years old, you’re an inspiring young lady.
Knowing that I wasn’t alone in seeing love here was relieving, I suppose. I remember when I came back from my initial trip and I was telling people at Bible study about it. I thought it was beautiful (and possibly even normal, given the experience) that I saw love, but the room was silent and there were a few weird looks cast my way. It was awkward, but it didn’t really bother me. But hearing from someone else who had been in the same situation? That took me back to those minutes with Anne, the minutes I hold so close to my heart everyday. Love overflowing.
I don’t know if I’ll find the love that typically comes to mind, but I know I’ve experienced and seen love here, and that’s ultimately enough for me.