Town:Haiti Pt. 3

Me and my team of 11 flew into Port Au Prince Haiti. We had to stay in town with the Coreluv missionaries there until morning because driving through unpaved roads and 4 rivers in the dark when other cars and motorcycles may or may not have lights is not safe or even a good idea.

Right off the bat, we landed into a conglomeration of colors, dirt, and a sea of people. Most of which were black. A very interesting turn, being a vast minority. However, Haitians are a friendly people and smiled offering to sell us cold bottled water, handmade bracelets, and a variety of other local or handmade merch. We pushed through the crowd until we found our hosts, Michael, Maica, Mino, Reubens, and Ashlynn. We were herded toward a sturdy looking dirty white steel truck painted with the Coreluv emblem t and headed deeper into Port-Au-Prince.

To say there was poverty is an understatement. There was trash in the streets, rubble in the midst of housing, garbage trenches on the side of the road a block long that were burning. Burning away people’s wastes. People headed in every direction. In the road and off the road. Some dressed professionally, some in caj wear. There was no rhyme or reason to their direction. Even traffic had no real signage (at least that none that was ceremoniously followed, no ‘stay to the right’ rule. Cars, people, bikes, motorcycles -they all just headed to wherever they needed to go. Its an intimidating feat, to be foreign and drive in place where everyone yields while they honk at you, then fly around you before you can get your bearings of what to do and how to proceed. Luckily, our driver Mino was local and really good at pushing a giant car loaded with a dozen people through the chaos of city life.

We unloaded at our detour location for the night. No air conditioning reigned supreme. Of course, I knew this would be the case. After all, despite Haiti being only a two and a half hour flight from Miami, it was not America. Electricity was an on again off again thing. Clearly the reason no one in Haiti utterly depended on it. It was not consistent. Our three hosts took us to the best pizza in Port-Au-Prince. Muncheez.

We changed and reloaded into the car and went up hill, slowly in the discombobulation to the restaurant. The scenery was full of distant hills at sunset, small beautifully bright colored buildings on each side. Some where houses, some businesses. Amid which there were houses made of tin sheets, some rusted gruesomely, some destroyed in the earthquake of several years ago, but none were abandoned. People lived, worked, and sat in their personal rubble watching as the day retreated into breathtaking twilight all the while chatting amicably with neighbors or bartering with street vendors.

We made it to the restaurant and had some very good pizza. The lot of us talked and got to know one another over our last Amrican meal for the week.


We then headed back to our rendezvous point for the night and had some collective Bible time. The implicit question that would permeate the rest of trip made its debut. “Where did you see Jesus today?”

The answer to which I had to say: EVERYWHERE!

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Remembering The smells of Autumn

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Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, pine, drying berries, cool mornings and evenings, daylight shifting- they all beckon to the call of that familiar homey time of year called Autumn. It signals the beginning of the holiday season, the ending of a year and new beginnings to come. It’s my favorite time of year despite having been grown up in South Florida where seasons don’t abide.

 

It was on such a day like this 16 years ago that everything changed. America was forever altered after we watched two commercial airplanes crash into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. One day changed everything. It shattered our cloud of false security, but it also bred fear across the nation. It fueled hate. I remember that day. I was in 7th grade. Siting in the library watching live coverage of the event for a short while before being sent off to class, head spinning.

People were crying. People were shocked. People didn’t know how to react. I was the latter. It almost seemed like it was some made up tale- planes flying into buildings. A bad end-of-the-world movie scenario. Yet, it’s a truth that remains. An ugly truth engrained in the land of our hearts, carved into the province of New York City. Today lets remember. Lets remember what hates does. What it destroys. How much it costs. Lets remember September 11, 2001.pexels-photo-374710.jpeg

Zenith Nation: The Zenith Commune

Zenith: the point on the celestial sphere vertically above a given position or observer; the highest point.

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Zenith, we sparkle, we fly.

We do the man-made impossible.

We are the ones to envy.

We are the Zenith, The Nation above all the others.

We wiz by at light speeds- physically, mentally we go,

racing toward the end, the end of our lives, the end of times.

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All we do, all we have is AI. It is artificial. It is intelligent.

We all strive, we want to Be, to have, to reach-

To reach the very top.

The Zenith is all there is here,

all anyone dreams of, to be the one whose name regales

the pages of The Heights of society.

We are It, the epitome of all the Nations.

We are the very brightest, the ones always looking to out do.

We out do each other, ourselves, and anyone in the way.

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Anyone in the way of our dreams, our gold, will be crushed,

trampled beneath the weight of brains, of advancements

Monthly, weekly, hourly- too fast to keep up with.

We advance our alloys, our wires, all the invisible data

floating above our heads that make Zenith what it is.

We advance at the price of everyone else.

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We are poise, we are frantic, we are filled to the brim

With all that dies, with all that consumes.

That is who we are. The Consumers.

Devourers of life, of people, of goodness, of evil.

We take it all in and swallow it whole.

We drink in light like a supermassive black hole.

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We create and at such a speed that we hurry our own ends.

We the nation of wires, of self-driving cars, of phones and

worlds in hand- we are the end, cancer filling up the sky.

Zenith, the peak of the human race and yet the bottom, the

Intrepid disasters filling up the air. We are poison,

to ourselves, to the world we devour into toxic nothingness.

Frail Body, Death;

 

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This work is dedicated to my life long friend Elena- who is the strongest, toughest girl I have ever known and who is now walking the road of cancer taking her mother home. Love you ET. 

This frail body, these fragile organs,

this contained vessel, cell of muti-sytems.

How easy to end, how simple to die.

 

A hundred ways lend it hands-

to end a thing called a human life.

A thousand ways to go.

 

A single hole, ½ inch wide,

A knife slicing flesh ragged

A drink- calm, cool, turned savage.

 

Blazing liquid, fire to consume,

Ragged wiring producing charge,

All hell-bent on bringing hellfire’s end.

 

Cancer eating you alive,

Aches that call to that angel

Longing to go home, yet unwilling still.

 

All things to beckon that dark angel,

the unwelcomed monster, Death,

an enemy turned friend in the end.

 

So many ways to make one’s end.

So many ways destined on sending us

packing from one life into the next.

 

And all will go, one way or another.

This time or some other.

Mortality is as sure as the dawn.

 

What matters is what stands.

That which is true,

what is real survives.

 

God, in all His mercies,

His beauty-

He remains.

 

That blimp on the map

of history upon which all

cosmos’ orbit.

 

Who He is and what He’s done.

He’s bought us,

insignificant people of dust

 

To carry His mark, the everlasting,

bearing His witness,

claiming His cause.

 

Us, ragged people of flesh,

always running into the arms of death,

we are the chosen, His vessels

 

For what long time we have,

or little, we are redeemed,

the chosen bearers of forever.

 

And forever is all too near,

Though it may seem distant.

It’s but a beat, a single breath away.

A Meaning Beyond

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If you don’t know what the White Rose Society was then you may miss the overall power of the message written by Sophie Scholl, one of the members. It was a peaceful band of resistance to the ideals of Nazi Germany. Most of its members were college students. A portion of them were caught with leaflets on campus and executed for treason. Sophie write these words soon before her death. She knew that she wanted so much more and believed in deeper things than what Hitler and his Nazi agenda threw out for all to swallow whole.

All the Nazi issues aside, the deeper issue remains here. Truth. It resounds deep within us. We all know it when we see it. We feel our souls turn over in their graves. The the graves of mass produced artificial lives, plastic lives. They are lives filled to the brim with activities that society tells us (and we tell ourselves) that mean something. They represent status, where we are in life. As if we have somewhere to go every night of the week it means we are deeply connected. Connected to friendships, to people, to places, to what we do. But the truth is, for most of us we are not.

We are running our race on empty looking beside us instead of within. We pretend what we have and what we do can fill the leaky void in or souls, but really nothing but truth can do that. And truth is really a measurable, quantifiable thing.

Ultimately, God is truth and his truth brings us to all the deeper meanings we seek so badly and yet fall short of.

 

Elf to B.C.

book-read-reading-blanket-79697I recently got the opportunity to help out a children’s hospital and deliver a boat-load of presents and money to one family in need, and one sick little boy.

They do it every year. This one unit of nurses at Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital gives of their own money to bring a smile to one deserving child and their whole family each Christmas. They go all out and get EVERY SINGLE THING on that child’s Christmas list and the list of their family. One nurse had another little boy in his neighborhood want to help and he started a lemonade stand. He raised 30 dollars but when word got out about what he was doing other neighbors decided to match what he raised. The little boy ended up influencing a sum of $500. So that nurse got $500 dollars worth of gift cards and gave it to this year’s recipient.

This year’s recipient is one little boy, who we will call BC (the Big Cheese), and who is currently fighting cancer for the second time. His mom has also faced cancer, herself, so this has to be a very terrible thing to watch her sweet 8 year old boy go through chemo, knowing exactly what he is feeling and probably hating that she can’t do a thing to make it better.

Because the gift giving was meant to be a completely anonymous gifting, insert me. I got to do the delivering.  So 5 pm, I pulled up to the house with one of the nurses who packed me with the gifts. I rang the bell and BC’s mom answered. Just as I was telling her who I was, a bald little head was bobbing down the stairs coming for me. Despite some facial disfigurement from reconstructive surgery, he had a big old grin on his face.

Processed with VSCO with e5 preset“That’s a lot of presents!” he said as his mom was helping me toss gifts under their bare tree. I smiled. “You must be BC…”

“Yeah.”

“These are for you! From the little elves from the Children’s hospital.”

“Thank you!” He grinned sweetly. He gave me a hug and then I was on my way. It was a 90 second encounter. Yet, it was one that will stay with me and probably with them too for a long time.

There is nothing like seeing the simple joys of a child light up your soul when their joy is activated. I work with kids all day and it never gets old. They love so purely. They celebrate their little joys so freely. It’s such a beautiful gift to be able to see this every day at work. Yet, to see a sick little boy beaming from ear to ear is even better. It is all the Christmas I need.

Above all I am grateful to God for this opportunity to be a tiny insignificant part of this amazing team of nurses who have such a heart for their job- that is their patients. I am thankful to have been able to be their hands and feet and bring joy to one little very significant heart who’s struggle is so much bigger than he is, but who has so much joy!

Hospital

red-school-blur-factoryMy mom was diagnosed with breast cancer  this year, and though she is doing well recovering from that diagnosis (they caught it early enough that she didn’t need chemo or radiation after surgery), I found myself walking the hospital that day, wondering around alone as I waited for her surgery to be over. It was the same hospital that my grandfather died in 15 years before. I was 14, but I remember it like it was last week. The way it smelled, the darkness of his room the last time I saw him. As I walked around that day waiting for my mom’s surgery to be over, I knew my mom would be ok. How? Why? The whole peace in the middle of the storm thing, yeah, God is not kidding! That’s all the how and why I can tell you. It had nothing to do with me.But as I walked those sadly familiar halls of Johnson Memorial Hospital I also knew there were others there who’s world just fell apart worse than mine had.

For some, there were no God assurances. They were just in the middle of a pain ravished hurricane, losing the battle against fear, against despair. Because well…

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It’s the hospital. The place of death. The place where lives hang in between. Its cold here. Its gruesome. Its hard reality as it fullest.

It’s where your priorities properly align- probably for the first time; this is where vulnerability hits.

This is the place you discover money means nothing in light of a black diagnosis and all the power one’s hoarded might not be enough. It’s meaningless. It’s worthless.

All you really want, is those people you’ve pushed away, you want their warmth, their arms. The hospital makes you crave all that inner self you try to hide from day by day.

But the hospital is not just a despair mongering place. It is also a place of hope. It is a place where life can be granted a second chance.

Its where science-fiction meets reality with all sorts of frankensteinian ideas that come into fruition by the sheer will of genius imaginations and iron clad courage.

It’s where steady hands do their best work and doctors become rock stars as dauntless as  firemen running into the blaze, soldiers into gun fire.

This conglomeration of pathways is a separate journey for each one who walks inside those pristine white doors. So be extra kind.

You may not be the one traveling in despair through the white wash hallways, but others might. Just a smile from a stranger can make their invisibility fall away and remind them that they are not so alone.

The hospital is where we remember our humanity and that in it, we are terminal. It’s just a question of when. Remember, also, that a kind word will gratify the soul, but a hug can definitely fight off the walls of despair.