In a note that Johnna wrote recently about Manno (a friend from Haiti) and his first ever trip to the US, his first time ever out of Haiti in his whole life, she mentioned the difference between Haiti and the US in a way I had never thought of before, which led me to think about freedom.
This part is what struck me very deeply: "Walking next to him I realized how big and out of place his movements were. In Haiti his size and voice and exaggerated, excited movements just seem to make sense. Maybe because Haiti doesn’t contain people at all, but rather just lets you spill out across the mountains. But in a crowd of excited Disney Tourists I thought maybe America was too small for him."
The part about Haiti doesn't contain people at all and America being too small...for someone from Haiti...The idea is actually ludicrous. America is, by land mass definitions, huge compared to the small half an island that is Haiti. But it is true, in America, we have to "fit in" where in Haiti, my short limited experience was to break out, and be all. Be all in a sense that I could be a holy, mature, woman of God, yet in the very next second, be a laughing, childlike person going around the dinner table shouting back and forth with kids "Ou Fou, Ou Fou" (You are a fool) and laughing till no end. I could be a clothing supplier in one moment, and a beach lover the next. I could be mother, friend, sister, helper and the helpee all at once. While here in my own country, I feel as though we are expected to just simply grow up and be a responsible member of society and "fit in". Fit into what I'm not exactly sure.
Fit in to the right clothes? Fit in to the right social group? Fit in to the right Church community even? It is funny how much of my Humanities Seminar is fitting to my life. We just read from a book written by a guy, Bellah, and he talks about the seperation of people from the First Language in America (the self, individualism) from the second language (Community) and how that could be detrimental to our society. I think in Haiti, the first language is Community and honestly, I would dare to say they don't even have any other language.
For the first time ever, when I was in Haiti, I was surrounded by people of a different race, yet no one cared, literally, we were all one bodu, believers in the dignity that we all share. I got off the truck to be embraced with love. I gave and received love instantly. There was no "let me get to know you first"...it just happened. There was no difference in our village between orphans and kids with parents, we all came together, we all laughed and loved.
You are teaching me so much and I am so grateful. May I continue to learn life's lessons from meditating on this amazing trip. Draw me closer to you. Help me to lead others closer to You and the idea that you created each individual human being on this planet and each one deserves respect in their dignity as human persons, even if that comes with a cost. Amen!