It's been almost two weeks since our family has returned from Haiti. It's hard to believe we have been back in our U.S. life this long already. Last night we met with our Haiti team from our church to debrief, reminisce about the trip and plan out an upcoming "sharing night" when we will have the opportunity to share our experiences in Haiti with other friends and family here in Fresno.
I enjoyed getting together with this new group of friends who share a heart for Haiti and the poor. We chatted about some of the "reverse culture shock" of returning home. Some of us experienced the shock of walking into places like Costco, Target or other grocery stores with overflowing shelves and bulk packaging. Some of us felt the "short-term mission blues" after being around so many people around the clock and then coming home to large empty houses. Others felt the frustration of trying to express the experience of serving in Haiti to family and friends who cannot really relate. I always think it's good to talk about some of these hardships as a group. We also brainstormed some ways we can be proactive and specifically help new friends in Haiti.
Since we got home, Ericlee and I have continued to read our 30-Day Trek devotional. We picked up where we left off. The devotional for Day 26 talks about this idea of being "stuck at the high end of the scale." Really, that's where those of us who live in the United States are stuck. But God impressed upon my heart that I am not to sit here in my beautiful California home in the land of abundant food and resources and feel guilty. He put me in this place for a reason. Maybe I should spend less time feeling guilty about what I have and paralyzed by the thought of it and more time brainstorming ways I can live simply and give more away. Maybe I should stop feeling sorry for myself when our "budget is tight" and start thinking of the way people around the world are forced to live in poverty as a result of our overindulgence and overuse of resources here in the U.S.
Day 14 of Trek challenged us with this question: Do my closest friends nurture my deepest commitments? Good questions for all of us to ponder. Ericlee and I have now gone to Haiti with eight teams of people from our church and friend community. Our goal is to formally or informally continue to meet with these friends and talk with them about Haiti and how we can connect resources to those in need. We also consider our Small Group our closest friends who share our values. We are looking forward to this month when we will resume meeting with those four other families to share meals and talk through some of these issues.
Do your closest friends push you toward your deepest values, or make it harder to live them out?