Coming to Haiti as a group brings you closer than most people could imagine.
Maybe it's the four hours or more we spend each day crammed into small pickup trucks, or maybe the shared joy, sorrow and helplessness you take on together each day. Whatever the reason, we will come back from Haiti with a love for our group of people that we may not ever feel anytime else in our lives in the same way.
So last night as I sat with my friends, old and new, I rejoiced in the time that I have gotten to spend with them. And something unexpected and amazing came out of that conversation.
We were discussing strategies – how to provide a nurse for our small community of Le Pretre – all of us trying to figure out how to get involved – Nancy and Sandy from Penscola, friends I made on the last trip – my new friend Tammy from Kansas City – somehow I know that we will forever be entwined in what we are doing in Haiti. Across the room, Dr. John Priddy, a doctor I admire so much as a Christian, as a person, and, now that I have seen him in action, as a physician. Finally, my good friends from the St. John's men's group, Mike Leigh and the Reverend Dr. Tom Milam.
As we talked, Tom took my swollen leg and foot into his lap and started massaging them to reduce some of my pain. My feet! I really can’t think of another situation in which this might seem so natural (certainly not while sitting around watching a football game). But here in Haiti, it was beautiful gift to me. I was reminded of Jesus washing his disciples' feet, and the foot washing on Maundy Thursday in which we remember that – a beautiful, selfless act of service that I won't ever forget.
Nor will any of us on this trip ever forget each other. Haiti changes you and it's wonderful.
St. John's Episcopal Church, Roanoke, Va.
The image above: Evening prayer, "a holy, precious time" at the end of each workday, as the Reverend Eric Long describes it.