What inspires me – a memory of Haiti
Not so long ago, Alphonce was just a baby. He ate, he cried, he loved attention just like any other baby, and I loved giving it to him. His smile, oh that perfect smile – it was my favorite. The first time I saw him, I walked into the rescue and his 5 month old, 8 pound body was propped up so he could see what was going on. I made a face at him and his whole face lit up back at me, I can’t describe it. He was such a charmer. He would of been a heartbreaker, I’m sure. Instead, my heart breaks over his story.
The thing is, he was born in a rural village in Haiti to a bedridden mother and a father who tried, but couldn’t support him. He should have had two brothers, but they were both dead by the time he was born. At five months old, his hair had not once been washed. He was bathed and fed and finally began to flash that smile. Alphonce was a fighter and we were all so convinced that he’d be survivor too. I don’t know how long we were blessed with loving that sweet boy, but all of a sudden he wasn’t there anymore. That morning his tiny chest pressed desperately up and down, so weak, fighting for life. I can only say that it was painful in every way watching him take that last breath. He was bathed, I braided his soft hair, and we wrapped him to be buried in an unmarked, overflowing cemetery. He had so much to offer, so much life, and he’ll never get the chance to live it. I rest in knowing that he is with my God forever, and will never again know the pain he experienced in his short life on earth.
At this moment, people all around the world are fighting for breath, starving for food and love, enduring death, poverty, and suffering. They are not so far away, not so different from us. Alphonce is only one, as is my sister, Daphca, who won her fight for life. When I look at her, I am so proud of her spunky personality, her beauty, how smart she is. We will never take her precious life for granted; we know it is a gift because we saw it almost slip away. I, on the other hand, was born in America. I’ve never wondered if I would have enough food to live, never worried about being abandoned or neglected. While I don’t wish that I knew what such a painful life is like, I want my heart to break for what breaks God’s heart. I am blessed; we are blessed. I don’t understand why, but that provides us so much opportunity if we take advantage of each day and don’t lose perspective of that gift.
I never want to forget what a privilege it is to be alive. Even more, I get to live in a sturdy building surrounded by wonderful friends, take hot showers, find medicine when I am sick, eat when I’m hungry, drink clean water, live a life so incredibly privileged that many of my friends could not begin to imagine it if they tried. Not only am I literate, but I’m studying in my field of choice and will someday get to decide where and how I will live. Never let me take that for granted. Never let me complain about trivial things. Alphonce’s memory, so vivid in my mind, the memories of many, many others who did and didn’t make it, as well as the strong children, men, and women who suffer still, are such inspiration to not waste this time. We have to let our hearts be broken in order to live as we were created to live, every single day.
I Saw What I Saw – Sara Groves
I saw what I saw and I can’t forget it
I heard what I heard and I can’t go back
I know what I know and I can’t deny it
Something on the road, cut me to the soul
Your pain has changed me
your dream inspires
your face a memory
your hope a fire
your courage asks me what I’m afraid of
(what I am made of)
and what I know of love
we’ve done what we’ve done and we can’t erase it
we are what we are and it’s more than enough
we have what we have but it’s no substitution
Something on the road, touched my very soul
I say what I say with no hesitation
I have what I have and I’m giving it up
I do what I do with deep conviction
Something on the road, changed my world