Yesterday, a missionary friend posted something on Facebook that really hit home:
“A little real talk: some days are just plain hard. Weekends… holidays… and then those pesky days that pop up out of nowhere, leaving you a little homesick for the life you left behind.”
The post hit home for several reasons. First, I totally appreciated her honesty. I can’t speak for others in the field, but when things aren’t going so hot, I tend to fall a little out of touch. Right or wrong, I often times feel that I need to hide the hardships and ugliness from all of you.
Second, I was touched by the outpouring of love for this woman and her family. They have been in Haiti nearly 3½ years and it was encouraging to see people remembering them in words, actions, and prayers. One of the hard truths about being here is that the longer we are away, the more distant we feel from our before-Haiti life (family, friends, church, etc.). The thing is, the longer we are here, the greater the demand is on us; it’s what happens when you form relationships. I find this inverse relationship somewhat ironic.
Third, in some perverse kind of way, it’s comforting to know that others share the same feeling(s). Actually, when I asked this friend if I could use her post for the blog, she said the very same thing back to me. It’s helpful to know that what we feel is normal, at least for living out our respective callings in this place.
The truth of the matter is, I’ve been somewhat discouraged lately. There are a whole bunch of reasons why, but after typing them out, I realized that there isn’t any good that can come from listing them. On the contrary, it has the potential of causing harm to those who think they see themselves and/or their actions, or inactions, on the list. That is not what I want to focus on.
What I want to focus on is the chicken. Yes, you read that right. The chicken.
Earlier today, a visitor came to our house – it was one of our Haitian friends. He was making sure that we would be home later because he wanted to gift us a chicken. He explained that he would butcher and prepare it; the only thing we had to do was put it in the oven (which is good because I am not really into slaughtering animals). I realize that checking with someone before you drop off a gift isn’t unique to Haiti, but it’s not usually because the town doesn’t have electricity, meaning no refrigeration.
He returned a few hours later, carrying a tub of (really) fresh chicken pieces. As I type, the smell of seasoned chicken is filling our house.
Folks, I really hope that you can see the big picture here. My feelings of frustration and discouragement were not ignored. My wondering if we are making a difference here did not fall on deaf ears. My questioning what the future holds did not go unnoticed.
The items on my list are still there, and it would be easy to dwell on them. Instead, I choose to focus on how God used a dead chicken and the kindness of a friend to remind me how very much He loves me. No matter what.
That, my friends, is chicken
soup feet for the soul.