I've been dreading this week for months.
It's the one that my cheri, Sarah Parsons, packed her bags and headed home.
She was my confidant, my comic relief, and when I needed it, a kick in my pants.
When Sarah first arrived as an intern in summer 2009, I didn't know how much I needed her. I had been in countdown mode for weeks before she graced the presence of Mission of Hope, and the more I got to know her, the less I thought about going home. A year later, she returned to Haiti as the medical team coordinator and became my first-ever roommate. Over the past 11 months in this quaint little apartment, we've shared toothpaste, a king bed, and the deepest corners of our hearts, to name a few.
Sarah did more than just pull off an 8-3 work week. She was on call 24/7 for team emergencies, running ambulance transfers that lasted into the wee hours of the morning, and managing the staff in car wrecks and emergencies that were brought to our gate rain or shine. Ask anyone in Haiti and they would agree, this girl worked her tail off.
Sarah taught me that life is more about character than circumstance. She dealt with devastation that would have made me keel over and surrender, but she just kept going. She never pitied herself or gave excuses. She served at the clinic with her whole heart, and when a week of no medical teams opened up, she was the one jumping on the bus with the team for the day to paint houses in the heat. She always kept her chin up.
Between the people managing (and believe me we get all kinds over here!), suturing wounds and mass cholera relief work, she never lost her spunk. Hence the photo (this is just after she pounded some candy canes with a hammer for our cheesecake topping).
She's been by my side through ceiling leakages, hurricane threats, election turmoil, and pulling me out of bed when the rats broke in. We danced sun up to sun down, we harmonied to her smorgasbord of genres, we laughed for hours over Culligan water gallons and our misusage of Creole, we sipped hot chocolate in the Haitian heat, and we vented and cried and asked the hard questions up and down the mission hill.
This apartment has a huge sense of unfamiliarity to it since she's been gone. The smell of coffee no longer wakes me up in the morning, and her presence in the quietness of another day ending isn't a vibe I'm excited about. In many ways, I'm finding my feet again, as Denison Witmer sings.
But as soon as I begin to feel sorry for myself, I recount the memories that make me giggle and the blessing of having such a wonderful season of life. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
May you continue to walk in the light of hope and joy, my dear Cheri.
Go now in the love of your God.