Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Why is it so difficult to be vulnerable? I lived through something rather traumatic this year, something that utterly changed my life and yet, when people ask me about it, I generally say, "Well, it was a tough couple of months, but..." and I proceed to list off the positive things that have been happening since the quake. A few of my friends have received a proper picture of how I am and how I've been affected, but for some reason, it is very hard for me to be honest about it all.
Part of the problem is that until recently, I thought that I had pretty much moved on. But now that I have left Haiti and am forced by sheer distance to stop working and to look at the earthquake from a different angle, I am hit by a truckload of emotions. All the grief, the hurt, the anger, the confusion, and the guilt just come rushing back. My good friend Marc has gently argued with me every time I see him that I have been working too much since the earthquake but I would just respond that there is a ton to do and I can't stop. But that wasn't it. I realize now that I was working nonstop because to stop working, to stop doing meant that I might start thinking. Thinking meant that I would have to face all those quake-emotions all over again. And facing quake-emotions hurts. So I kept myself busy, even on my few days off. Always busy, always doing something so that I wouldn't cry, so that I wouldn't see the faces of my victims in my mind.
I feel sheepish saying this, but I have not recovered yet. As I drove down the 2 mile dirt road leading to Chop Point, I surprised myself by suddenly bursting into tears. I cried the whole way, guilty at being able to leave the rubble for this peaceful place, guilty at feeling so happy to be here. There was something else too and it took me a while to figure it out: I was grieving the death of the Keziah Furth who worked at camp for the past 3 years. Deep down, I am not the same person. I suppose you can't live through something of this magnitude and not feel changed.
I am forcing myself to do less and to think more. It's good, but it isn't fun. Sometimes I feel the weight of 300,000 deaths so heavily that I can barely breathe. Sometimes I can't stand the memory of those who died in my field and the fact that I was too occupied with other victims to give them the dignity in passing that they deserved. Sometimes my soul aches thinking about the mothers of Lovenide, Peterson, and Memene, little patients of mine who died. Sometimes I cry out of fear, not fear for safety, but fear of never fully dealing with this and fear of losing my poise at inopportune moments.
It has taken time, but I can say that God loves me and actually mean it. I can also say with utmost confidence that most of my life I have kept God in a little box and He simply does not fit. He's bigger and more complex than anything I can dictate for Him. So I've let Him out of the box. But I'm not sure what to do with Him now that He's out. He overwhelms me, awes me, confuses me. I can't talk to Him or relate to Him in the same way that I did before the earthquake, but I trust that at some point, He will re-teach me how to love Him back. For now, I just keep telling Him, "I don't understand You. Help me to understand." I think, I hope, that's enough.