watching, reading, and writing stories

Lessons from Haiti: Finding the Good

on September 10, 2013

I’m coming down to the end of this blog series. Friday was our last full day in Haiti, so after this post I’ll only have one more! Wow! Well let’s get started.

Day 8: Finding the Good


This day was very different from any of the other days in Haiti. Our work projects were pretty much over, and there were ideas of doing more vacation-like activities; like climbing the mountain next to the camp, visiting an old fort nearby, or going to the beach again. The night before, several people had planned on getting up super early and climbing the mountain. I was surprised that all of the girls in our cabin wanted to do it. I didn’t feel much like getting up early, and I said I wouldn’t go, but after a short night sleep, I awakened with a strong longing to not miss out. So I got up with everyone else and went to the pavilion to wait for the mountain guide.

We sat, and waited, and sat some more and waited some more. But nothing happened. The sun began to rise, the animals began to make their morning noises, but still no guide came. My excitement dimmed and the thought of returning to bed became more and more attractive. Finally I gave up and said I was going back to sleep. I found out later that only a few people actually went up the mountain, and most just climbed the shorter hill where the cross stood. So I didn’t feel too bad about sleeping a couple more hours, but there was still a small sense of regret that I had missed out. In addition to this regret I started to feel a little sick. It wasn’t horrible, but it was enough to make it hard to enjoy my last day on the island.

And this is where the choice came in. I think everyone has a choice about how they view their situation. A lot of “satisfaction” or “enjoyment” I think, comes not from literal circumstances, but our attitude towards them. Even though I didn’t feel great and I had missed out on something fun, I was still able to “enjoy” the day. I got to spend time with people I cared about. I got to hear more testimonies from our group that gave me a deeper awareness of how much God can change a life. I even got to spend more time with the little girl who had helped me paint during the week. She gave me a small seashell to keep, and because it was from her, I still treasure it.

Because I didn’t focus on the “bad,” the “disappointments,” the “pain,” I was still able to enjoy the day. One of my favorite memories from that day was just sitting on the front porch of our cabins: singing songs, talking, and suggesting good books to read. It was a simple time of community, with no schedule, no work project, and no worries.

God also blessed me by putting people around me that were also looking for the good in each circumstance instead of complaining about each change or disappointment. In fact, the group even prayed for me to start feeling better. Even though I wasn’t instantly healed, I did feel blessed and loved because of their prayers. When we did go to the beach later that afternoon, our plans got changed; instead of going to a secluded island, we ended up staying on a rough and rocky beach. But even though the group could have focused on what we had missed out on, we instead found joy in our current circumstance. A few people started wandering down the beach and ended up finding some awesome shells to keep as souvenirs. And a few people went body-surfing on the strong waves with the kids. I even tried making a sand/rock castle. Oh, and we got to ride a tap tap for the first time! That was fun.

So even though the last day wasn’t exactly what we had planned, and even though I felt sick during parts of it, because God gave me the grace to focus on the good things, I still had a wonderful day.

I’ll leave you with this verse, which has been on my mind the past few days:

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” -Philippians 2:14-15 NIV


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