It’s raining. A kind of rain I never knew before I experienced it’s ravishing on this tiny island home of mine. For the second day in a row an afternoon storm has blown across the valley, bringing fierce winds and pouring buckets of water from heavy, black clouds. I am warm and cozy under the blanket that lies across the back of my couch.
Three days ago I was invited into the home of two people who I admire greatly. They showed me where they prepare food, if they have any that day. They led me into the bare second room holding one double mattress and one loveseat sized couch where 6 people gather to catch a few hours of sleep each night, as long as there are no rats nibbling on their toes and as long as the rain doesn’t fall. There is no shame, no begging either, just a matter of fact as they point to the rust holes in the thin tin that separates them from the night sky. It doesn’t take an engineer to contractor to see that this bit of metal does nothing to protect them from the elements. There is a bit of wool blanket strung above one mattress, I notice patches of mold so I guess it catches some water but it can’t possibly defend against the tropical rains that fall often on their little mountain village. I wonder where they stood today to stay dry. I wonder when they will sleep, surely not tonight, their mattress will be soggy and cold.
While the storm howled outside of my strong house I cuddled on my couch with a tiny baby on my lap. One month ago she was slowly starving to death. Today she is gaining weight and even has a few rolls on her little thighs. She smiles and squeals when I hold her up high in the air. She snuggles hard against my shoulder when she is tired, she stares into my eyes with an intense maturity while she drinks her milk. The things I see there, the things she will never remember that are building her story, they break me. She is wiser than I am and she loves more fiercely than I will ever be capable of.
An article published this week tells of the harsh reality of Haiti. “6.7 million, or a staggering 67 percent of the population goes without food some days, can’t afford a balanced diet or has limited access to food”. Every day, more than half of the people that I interact with are hungry.
Even here it is easy to forget what happens outside of my gate. Just a few nights ago I had a meal so huge that complained of being too full afterwards, while more than half of my neighbors went to bed having eaten nothing that day. I look in the mirror and pick apart the places where I could stand to loose a few pounds while the bones of fragile children pierce through their skin, literally. I have held them, how could I have forgotten so quickly? I eat because I am bored while I hold a baby who has been hungry in her life more than she has been fed.
I am ashamed to say that when the rain began to fall this afternoon my first thought was how much I love afternoon storms. It wasn’t until several minuets later that his face popped into my mind… I live here, I see it every day and I still have so far to go to flee from my selfishness.
Every single day I have to struggle against my self and beg to be more like Christ. I pray to be filled with His compassion and love and it’s a prayer that I have to cry out over and over again. Less of me and more of You, please!