When in Haiti, you either grow in your patience, or go insane. 2 hour lines at the bank. Non-existent customer service. Power outages. People and children constantly approaching you everywhere you go. Orphans crying out for love and attention. The list is endless...
Patience has always been one of my greatest character flaws, and God used my 6 months here last time to really genuinely grow me in this area and it was a glorious thing for me. I learned to set aside my agendas and my frustrations, to slow down, to actually be present and experience God in the moments that would've usually driven me crazy before.
And then I went home. Back to the States and our rushed way of living, and it started to seep into me again. It started to crowd out the slowing down that had happened in me.
And now, back in Haiti, I am finding that two challenges present themselves in this area: 1) I am engaged to the most amazing man on the planet. With that comes a strong temptation to fix my mind on what is to come, and miss today and all the gifts in it. And 2) My mind is still in American mode- move quickly and efficiently from one thing to the next.
And I find that I am learning patience yet again.
I brought Natilia to the hospital Friday. I had a full day planned, and hoped things would move quickly at the hospital so I could head out to the next thing. I'd forgotten I was in Haiti, where things always take 5 to 10 times longer than you hope or expect.
We wait a long time for the doctor. God whispers to me-- let go of your expectations and plans, stay with her, love her and the people around you, don't be halfway present and then rush off to the next thing. I slow down. Natilia is so affectionate and precious and full. Finally the doctor comes. I have a moment watching Carlos and Isthmi (her sons) hovering over her bed, the 3 of them laughing and smiling and loving each other. She needs new medicine. I go down the hill. Pharmacy #1. #2. #3. #4. No one has it. Back up the hill. It is hot. The sweat drips. The doctor writes a different prescription. Down the hill. Buy it. Up the hill. God touches my heart for a young women in the same condition as Natilia as we read Psalms together on her hospital bed she's been in for over a month. Benita. She needs medicine. Back down the hill. $6. Up the hill. The sweat now runs in little rivers. And I feel the Lord with me as I walk, stirring up the patience, the contentment in the moment, reminding me to practice His presence right now. I smile and feel the joy deep down.
God is teaching me. Don't fix yourself on the next thing... the wedding, the weekend, the afternoon plans... Just sit down in this moment, immerse yourself in it. Find Him in it. And give Him away in it. That is a rich life.
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. ~James 1:4