This morning early Phil and I got on our knees and asked God to give us what we did not have: wisdom, insight, understanding of a culture so different than our own.
We told our Father what He already knew— that this task He has assigned for us— to inspire and teach and encourage and exhort the leaders in Haiti, is beyond our ability.
And as Phil prayed, I wondered… what am I doing here?
Nothing about this assignment fits who I am.
I’m a home-body— not an adventurous bone in my body.
I don’t like heat or sweating or dirt or bugs— all of which thrive in Haiti.
And my nose works far too well for this land where running water is scarce and sewage runs open down the streets.
In our harrowing car ride from Port au Prince to Carafour I tried to avoid looking out the open window because when I did, the chaotic, devil-may-dare driving seemed surreal. That and the men with machine guns standing in the middle of intersections.
The strangest thing is that I’ve never once felt afraid.
Me— the one who double-checks the locks in my perfectly safe suburban house.
Add to all that my introverted shyness, my aversion to the limelight, and you know why I asked God, “What are You thinking? I think you’ve got the wrong woman here…”
And yet, here in this land so far from the familiar, I feel myself turn into a different woman.
Bugs don’t bother me in the least.
The heat feels fine even as sweat drips down my legs and melts the make-up right off my face.
And here I’m not shy.
I am Pastor Diane Carole Comer to these Haitian women.
We are not different— we think and laugh and hurt and fail in all the same ways.
These are my sisters. I am one of them.
This morning I told them things my own kids have never known about me. I told stories of my failures and my discoveries and my joys and deep regrets. We know each other. Kindred spirits who wear our skin a different shade.
And that is exactly why I am here.
Not because I like this place. Not because of the weather or the safety or how comfortable I am or am not.
I am here because something in my story resonates with something in their stories and we share the same Father who is writing something magnificent and magical and mystical in each of us.
And maybe this whole story fits together in some way. Maybe I can’t understand mine until I hear theirs.
Maybe hearing that I hurt helps these women who have suffered so terribly and so often to hurt a little less.
And maybe you need to tell someone your story.
Because maybe someone needs to hear your story in order to make sense of theirs.
And maybe we all need each other’s stories so that we can understand the mystery God is writing at this time in his-story.
A lot of maybe’s…
From my heart,
P.S. Thank-you, dear friends, for praying for me while I am here.
I am sticky, sweaty, dirty, uncomfortable and having the time of my life!