The Tide Is Out

 In General


A lady from Minnesota is staying at my guest house with several soccer players doing a community development program. Yesterday she was trying to find Creole proverbs to encourage them. In trying to give the Haitians an example of what she meant, she said, “In America to wish someone good luck, we may say, ‘break a leg!’ What do you say?” She got a puzzled look from her friend. She realized he heard…”If you break your leg, good luck!” She did finally stumble onto a Haitian proverb, “Better to be exiled than to be shot.” Well, I guess they have a point there. Good luck relating that to soccer.

Communicating is fairly hard in Haiti but it’s not the most difficult thing. For me, it’s been hard slowing down my brain and leaving the cares of home behind. Haiti is very chill and slowing my body down has not been the tough part; adapting to the pace of daily life here is refreshing. What’s hard is turning the mind off. If anything, it has even more time to ponder and stress out. In the US I’m caught up in doing. In Haiti I’m caught up in thinking. And sometimes along with thinking comes anxiety. It’s not a freak out anxiety but more of a nagging distraction anxiety; it takes my mind into thought patterns that don’t go anywhere. I can dwell on a lot of “what if” things but I’m not where I can do anything about them. That’s not a good combo for me.

When the ocean’s tide recedes we see what’s under it. Well, the tide of my normal life has receded. All the appointments, duties, responsibilities, and goals have gone – they are thousands of miles away. And now I can see what’s there when those things aren’t. And I can see an anxiety rock, a worry coral, and stress weed. And what I want to see is more love, joy, peace, faith, and on and on.

I’ve learned being quiet and reflective is a good thing. I have no choice but to be reflective while in Haiti. I think a bigger trick will be re-creating some semblance of this in the states. When I find quiet I tend to see better and see more. When the tide is gone I can see what’s there.

That dang tide! I know it’s going to come rushing back in as soon as I land back home. And that’s okay to a point. I’ve just got to find ways to send that tide back out on a regular basis or I’ll lose track of what’s under it.

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