Now for starters, I’ll admit it, I’ve never actually been to a spa. The thought of sweating in a clammy sauna and rubbing avocado on my face just never has really appealed to me; however, while these concepts seem so foreign and strange to me, for some people a spa day epitomizes a relaxing time of physical and mental rejuvenation. A place of peace.
I believe that I’ve found my “spa”
Feeling peace does not mean you have to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work; feeling peace means that you can be in the midst of all of those things and still be calm in your heart.
This place for me is Haiti. To many people this is such a strange concept, especially since missional work typically is (incorrectly) viewed as a one way stream of generosity flowing from those taking time out of their schedule to go somewhere with the sole intention of helping others to those receiving this help, but my sacrifice on trips to Haiti are nothing compared to the sacrifices our Haitian friends make for me. In an environment where poverty is as real as it gets people are taking time out of their day to talk with me, laugh with me, pray with me, and are earnestly seeking to make me feel wanted. These people not only take time to tell me but take time to show me that they genuinely enjoy my company even though I know only about 6 phrases in Haitian Creole and despite the fact that this time spent with me takes away from their time to work, cook, farm, and perform any of the other tasks that helps make their struggle for survival a little easier.
In Haiti I don’t worry like I normally do. I don’t fear humiliation or failure. I’m not consumed by technology or the distractions of the world. As cliché as it may sound, I am in my happy place, having a “first-class spa day” in a third-world country.
I believe I feel so relaxed and both emotionally and spiritually rejuvenated while I’m in Haiti is in part because the Haitian environment dares me to live fully. With no phone to escape to, no surface level conversations about the weather or someone’s clothing to resort to in “awkward moments” I am pushed to look up and see nothing but God’s beauty and love around me. Whether it’s where the beautiful green mountain ranges of the Massif Du Nord meet the Central Plateau or whether it’s a young Haitian’s obvious desire just to be held and loved the rawness and authenticity of Haiti makes me question the environment I call my home. Why do I tend to worry about the trivial things that I do when these people live lives that truly rejoice in God’s handiwork, even in the midst of suffering from extreme malnutrition, poor health, and countless other difficulties that had never even crossed the back of my mind a until about one year ago?
In Haiti God has revealed to me an environment that I adore and crave, a place that I love to be and where people love the me that I am: attentive, passionate, curious, and at peace.
Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.
– Luke 12:34 –
What a special thing to know that wherever we will feel our most special and are doing the most good, God will attach a passion to your heart.
If you’ve found your “spa” enjoy it and give everything you have to it, because the reward will be inconceivable; if you haven’t found your place yet, keep looking, where it is might just surprise you.