Last night I took the van der Mark children down to the Hope House. Every Friday night Rachel organizes a outdoor movie night for the kids, complete with 'big screen' (projected on to the side of the orphanage), and popcorn. Since Laurens and Cheryl have been away, I have been looking after the 3 kids, so we piled onto the ATV and headed down for some movie night fun!
When we arrived, I was once again greeted by a multitude of smiling faces, all eager to sit on my lap and hold my hand. It amazed me how many of us were able to fit on the two small benches outside, and how the children were completely mesmerized by a movie that wasn't even in their language. During the movie, I had to exit twice because two little boys who sat on my lap fell asleep, and when the movie was all over, I loved watching the children laugh and play while making their way back into their rooms for bedtime.
It was such a joyful time and it reminded me of the other times I've spent with the people of Haiti... The way I've watched the older children look out for and care for the little ones. The way they share and never leave out others. The way they sing and laugh and play barefoot in the hot sand. Not once have a seen a fight between children, or watched a crying child without someone to comforting them... The people here really care - It's the gardener who waits outside my door to wave and wish me a good day each morning. It's the cook in the kitchen who shares her bright smile whenever someone comes inside. It's the elderly men and women who walk halfway across the church just to give me a hug at greeting time.
These people love. Really love.
They are like a big happy family, and you don't have to 'be' anybody to share in the love. They aren't selfish or proud.
They live. They love - A love with no inhibitions, so innocent, so true, so evident in their lives.
But sometimes I wonder how these people can love so much and be so content... How they can wake up and face the day ahead of them when they have lost their parents? or their children? or live in pain from disease? Without support from the mission, the majority of them would be homeless, hungry and poor... These people have nothing to their name, and yet they live like they have all the riches in the world.
It causes me look inside myself and wonder, could I be that content with nothing?
I guess the reason I am writing this today is because of a simple truth that I have been hit with lately - Love is enough.
The people of Haiti have displayed this so naturally and beautifully - Love is all they need. And not only do they receive it with open arms, they give it so freely. It's something - one of the only things - that never runs dry in Haiti.
I think about my life - The blessings that I haven't stopped receiving since I was born. For health, for food, for a roof over my head, for a family that loves me, for friends that are there for me, for an education... I could go on and on. And yet so many times, my life doesn't seem good enough. I have a long list of priorities, and when one of them hasn't been met, or when something doesn't quite go my way, I let it take over my attitude and withhold love that I could share. I've been thinking a lot lately about the simplicity of love, and how it's something we as Christians have been commanded to do. It says in 1 Corinthians that faith, hope and love remain - but the greatest of these is love.
What would it look like if I started giving out love in the capacity that it has been given to me?
Not choosing who to love, or needing a reason to love, or wanting something in return for love... Loving people because that's what Jesus did.
I think it's so mind boggling that such a simple choice can make such a monumental change in someone. Love is the answer. War, pain, confusion, desperation, hunger, rejection, poverty - The answer is LOVE. And what brings it all together for me is that the God of the universe designed it this way.
God loved first.
Jesus lived and died for the sake of love.
And this love compels me to do the same. It's my turn.
For the amount of times I've put myself first and cared more about what people think or what I deserve - It's time to let it go. It's about time that I learn from these people in Haiti and begin to show how this love of Christ has changed me.
It's time to forget about what I think is right or wrong, or what I deserve, and it's time to let my worries and insufficiencies stop taking control of my attitude.
It's time to love.
This isn't a one time decision or a simple commitment. It's a constant choice and action and it's not easy. But how can I not love when God loved first? How can I not give when He gave everything? How can I not forgive when I have received indescribable grace?
This world is full of remedies... Full of ideas of how to 'fix' our problems. But what I have come to realize by watching the people of Haiti, is that the solution is not possessions or power or pride. It's love. And I definitely cannot do it alone, but with Jesus inside of me, I can be used as a vessel of His grace and joy and love.
I want to live in the love of my Father and give that love out today.
Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8