Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mans Searching for Meaning...

For over thirty years my lay ministry in church consisted of assisting parents in guiding their teenagers through the rocky years of adolescence. Some responded to the adventure of scouting, some to the discipline and focus of sports and some to extreme high adventure. We once found a service opportunity for a week at a state hospital for mentally retarded (the term used at the time).

For every child that found real purpose in life, confidence and respect for themselves in serving others, uniting in a worthy goal of being the best they can be at something or touching someone's life with the love of God through our willing hands, we rejoiced and thanked God with joyful hearts that we could be instruments in His hands with those sweet, choice souls that He had entrusted to us.
Some were harder to reach. We never gave up but unfortunately some of them gave up on us and went on into adulthood learning only by the school of hard knocks that God designed as his "reform school" of life.
I still follow these children into adulthood, especially our "problem children". We hope they have found meaning in their life and a self respect that God wants for all His children.

Turn about...

One of the great experiences that we have enjoyed on this Healing Haiti trip is that our team leaders have included parents on the trip. My daughter Karen, invited me and her mother-in-law Jan , and Jenn invited her parents Lynne and Bill.

I heard about Haiti from Karen and she was so excited to share her transformative experience with me. As much as I tried I could not get into it like she did. I also found another friend Jan, who had returned from Haiti who too could not wait to share her experience with me. Everyone who went was somehow transformed. They were revitalized.Life suddenly meant more than before. Some things were not as important as they once had been. An energy and purpose infused the lives of those who returned.

My sons would talk about the dramatic change in their sister's life jokingly saying, "I hope they don't sell their house and live in a shack and dedicate all their money to charity." They too knew something had permanently changed. And it was good.

Today we went to Cite Soleil. The poorest area in a country of nine million. 80% in the country are in poverty and 50% in abject poverty. I learned what the term abject poverty meant today. I will not dwell on that. What is not expected in that squalor was the bright eyes of the children. The little ones tugging on my shorts wanting to be held and loved. Their bright eyes flashing a deep soulful gratitude that can only come from a child.
An eight year old child Cece that Karen bonded with on previous trips, the last of 9 children, came to the water truck and they were reunited. She had prayed for this little one for eight months, and to her delight, she was doing well, going to school and had the real hope for a better life. Child after child would say in English, their native language is Creol, God is good, in all their little ways in gratitude for the water and the love we brought.

A (semi)crusty old man was touched today, in a way no telling of the experience can.

The torch has been passed. My daughter is now dreaming up ways to guide her parents (and others) through the rocky years of middle age. Hoping somehow she can be an instrument in Gods hand to reinvigorate the purpose and meaning in the lives of those she loves. Hopefully I will get it and not be her "problem child", relegated to the school of hard knocks.

The miracle has happened again. Where the giver and the receiver are both blessed.

Greetings from Healing Haiti (aka "Adult Spiritual Rehab")
Paul (Dad)