I rely on my contact lenses every single day for the ability to see. Without them, everything is a blur and I am unable to focus on anything other than what is directly in front of me. With them, I am able to see clearly, notice details, and observe far into the distance. I have never had a problem with eye infections or ever experienced any type of pain in my eyes. Never have I needed glasses because my eyes have adapted well to contact lenses. I’ve never had a problem until Haiti.
My first morning in Haiti I woke up and sensed that my eyes felt different. The instant I touched a contact lens to my eye, a burning sensation overcame my entire eyeball, causing me to fall onto the floor in agony. I have never experienced anything like it in my entire life. Both eyes felt this same way, as if they were on fire. I tried everything to relieve this sensation- flushed my eyes with water, with eye wash, rested them for a couple of hours before re-attempting to put them in and prayed for immediate healing. I tried to blame it on something- maybe the contact solution or the possibility of getting something in my eye, such as hand sanitizer or the imperfect water that Haiti is rumored to have. I was annoyed, frustrated and worried because I knew my experience would be completely different if I wasn’t able to see. I hoped and prayed this would only last for the day and by tomorrow my eyes would feel like new and I could go on as planned. However, it didn’t take me long to identify the problem and label what was actually happening: Spiritual Warfare. I had heard about it, been warned about it, researched it, read books about it, but never had a true understanding of the reality of it until now. After some prayer and thought, I felt at peace accepting the challenge and surrendering myself to God. I came to realize that my eyes almost certainly weren’t going to be the same until I returned home. Ironically, my prayer for Haiti had been for God to help me “see through a different lens” and I was willing to do this is more ways than one.
My blurred eyesight definitely had an immense impact on my week and my overall Haiti experience. Although I had already accepted it and decided that it wasn’t going to ruin my week, I couldn’t help but notice all day long, especially when group members pointed out distant sightings or when I tried to make eye contact with children from a distance. This was a constant reminder of how difficult life in Haiti would be. It really softened my heart and helped me to continually feel for these people. Everything in Haiti is a challenge. Besides the obvious lack of food and clean water, the people of Haiti do not have the luxury of wearing glasses or contacts to correct their vision. So for this week, why should I? I was completely surrendering by giving up what I cherish most, my eyes, and letting Him have his way with me in all ways. And although it was a struggle, instead of letting Satan win, I turned to God to help me to see what he wanted me to see and open my heart by helping me feel empathy and compassion to His people who have the least.
This morning, I woke up in the comfort of my own bed for the first time in over a week. I cautiously attempted to put my contacts in, and sure enough, the burning sensation was completely gone! I have personally experienced real spiritual warfare in action. I have been blessed with being able to see every day of my life and feel thankful to have had the opportunity to see though a different lens while serving in Haiti.
Today I paid my Target credit card online, thankful for being blessed with enough money to purchase more than just the things I need. I went for a long run on streets that are paved along a lake with pure water, breathing in clean, refreshing air every step of the way and wearing a pair of supportive, comfortable shoes on my feet. I opened up the fridge and poured myself a glass of uncontaminated water before taking a hot, refreshing shower and putting on clean clothes. I pray that I will never take these everyday blessings for granted. Haiti has truly opened my eyes, in more ways than I can grasp. I may not have seen the big picture and I certainly didn’t see everything, but I did see each individual child that I touched, each pair of eyes that I looked into my own and each heart that longed for hope and love.
Healing Haiti Team Member