Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Land of Contrast

How can Haiti be one of the ugliest places on earth, and yet one of the most beautiful?

I'm a Texas girl.  Born and raised.

If I close my eyes and think of home, images of land...lots of land...wide open pastures flood my mind.

Even if you live in a big city in Texas, it's funny how a pasture isn't far away.

I'd pass cows grazing on vast, open fields on my way to the grocery store or the library.

One of the first memories I have of elementary school was being indoctrinated with the "Don't Mess with Texas Campaign."  We colored posters and wore buttons, ingraining into our young minds that littering, and making Texas ugly would probably send a person straight to hell.  To this day, I probably rank litterers right up there with ax murderers.  If you know the people who came up with the "Don't Mess with Texas Campaign," you can let them know that their efforts were wildly successful.  25 years later, when I see a person drop trash on the ground, I am still appalled.  I shake my head and think, "You are a terrible, terrible person and it's highly debatable whether you deserve to live."

What was God thinking bringing me to Haiti?  I'm a Texan.  Much like the Darma Initiative, the "Don't Mess with Texas Campaign" programmed me to detest littering.  And yet here I am in Haiti where (gasp) people throw trash on the street right in broad daylight, and don't even fear for their soul.

What was God thinking bringing a Texas girl to Haiti and plopping her down right in the middle of Port-au-Prince?  It's like living in New York City, except with no rules, organization, or Broadway Shows.  I live in a concrete city full of noise, people, and trash.

A few weeks ago we spent some time up the mountain.  I had no idea how much I missed beauty until I got out of the car and was taken aback by the scene before my eyes.  Green mountains.  Lush farmland.  Rows and rows of food growing from the ground.  Before I knew what was happening, or knew why it was happening, my eyes filled up with tears.

Beauty.  Land.  Green grass.  Clean earth.  My soul had obviously been missing those elements of my former life.

A few weeks ago, we decided it was time to get away from the ugly and go to the beach for the day.

We drove through this broken city, the trash, the sadness, and arrived in one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.

I will never get over how strange it is to drive through complete devastation and arrive at a place of such shocking beauty.

I will also never get over how God can use something as simple as a Saturday drive and His creation to bring me hope and teach me lessons I could have never learned with words or a sermon.

Driving from Port-au-Prince to the beach may be like taking a living tour through the process of sanctification and the struggles of life on earth and what awaits the children of God.

Yes.  He's doing what it looks like he's doing.

Too bad there's no audio, or you would hear him singing, "Look at my coconuts, my coconuts, my coconuts."

Hayden acted like a missionary kid way before he was one.  Nothing new.

It will be hard for you all to not be jealous of how smokin' hot we are.  Sorry.  It's true.  We're wickedly sexy.

Note to self:  If you wear a shirt over your bathing suit, that cute tie in the back makes it look like you are the Hunchback of Notre Dame.


Aaron Hendrick said...

I agree ... both about the contrast of Haiti and about the "Don't Mess With Texas" campaign.

I can still the song from Johnny Dee and the Rockin' 88's as well as the song from Lyle Lovett. But my favorite one was the song form The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Maybe Haiti should launch a "Don't Mess With Haiti" campaign. Wyclef Jean could write a song.

At least it would give people some catchy music to listen to while they threw their trash on the ground.

Nichole said...

The first picture of you and Hudson is precious.

mandi said...

oh heather. i get this. this need to feel connected to natural beauty. about feeling suffocated by too much concrete.

what a wonderful place you guys found. i'm hoping you guys can visit on a somewhat regular basis to recharge.

i love all the shots of hayden with his sea star. he wasn't letting that baby go!

amanda said...

Love this post! and it's so nice to see you guys having some not-so-serious fun :)

Anonymous said...

Every day I can't wait to see if you've posted something new. Each time you do, it is such a treat. Thank you for sharing the photos. Your boys crack me up, and I LOVE the "hot" photo of you and your husband! And Hudson is such a beautiful little boy. (I can say that he's beautiful since he's little...but he really IS beautiful!)

I'm so glad your family had this opportunity to be refreshed. God is good. And your toenails look fabulous. Mine never look that good, and I'm not in Haiti!

-Allison from Kentucky

Anonymous said...

I'm not from the south so I never knew "don't mess with Texas" meant don't litter! I thought it was just Texans being "tough" and patriotic... "Mess with us and we'll kick your butt!"

Thanks for the enlightenment. :)

As for Aaron's idea about a song campaign for Haiti, that's a really good idea, particularly if it incorporates popular Haitian bands. Media can be a powerful tool to transform culture.

Amanda said...

I'm so glad you guys got to go to a beautiful beach. The pictures are great! We spent some time in Northern England a few years back and the Texan in me was horrified by all the trash thrown on the ground in the city center. We were told that people did it to create business for the custodial workers. Weird, huh?

Megan said...

I think Aaron's idea is great!

Have Rod call him up.

Anonymous said...

Did you learn a lil bit of creole or French? Btw that beach u were its near by my birthplace " sak pase lol"