Sunday, April 01, 2012

Can you see the moon?

I just came in from walking my silly little dog. For a few moments, I stood on the front lawn looking up at the sky. Clouds moved past in layers. Between the layers, between the shifts, the moon peeked down at me. The full smile of God, I call it - not just a sliver, nearly one-third of the moon is visible tonight. But only when the clouds separate enough to allow the viewer to catch a brief glimpse.

Which of course reminded me of our final night in Haiti, four weeks ago tonight.

On that windy night, our team sat on the roof of the OFCB school building, praying, talking, looking back, looking ahead, and looking up. At a sliver of the moon, visible to us only when the clouds parted enough to allow its light to shine down on us. With almost no manmade light within miles, we were repeatedly awed by the fact that we could see our shadows on the roof, shadows cast by the light of the moon.

In the distance, a wildfire ravaged the top of a mountain, fueled by high winds, low moisture, and trees and bushes that hadn't been rained on for nearly six months. In Haiti, there are no fire trucks to rush up the mountain from below and no helicopters to douse the flames from above, so we prayed fervently that the fire would go out on its own with minimal harm to people and property.

Within each of us, another wildfire raged. We had just spent four days in the mountains of Haiti and we were all lit from within by the fire to stay there for a few more days with the children, to do more for them (even though none of us knew what "more" we could have done), and also to come home and tell our stories to family and friends here.

The fire of hope.
The fire of faith.
The fire of wonder.
The fire of gratitude.
The fire of love.

Perhaps I should speak for myself -
I wanted to figure out a way to put out that fire on the mountain.
I wanted to figure out a way to stay there and teach Spanish to those beautiful children.
I wanted to choose five or six children to bring home and introduce to my family.
I wanted to come home and tell dozens of stories of all that I had seen and experienced in that amazing place.

But I forced myself to sit in my chair on the rooftop on that windy night.
To close my eyes and breathe deeply.
To live that moment on that final night in Bayonnais.
Fully, gratefully, joyfully, peacefully.
Then I opened my eyes and looked up at the moon.
Which was visible only between the passing layers of clouds.

By morning, the fire on the mountain was out.
Four weeks later, the fire in me rages on.
May it always be so.

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