What does a birthday in Haiti look like?
For a lot of friends that I have here, not a lot. It looks like telling the people around you what day it is, and getting a song or good wishes in response. For some kids, it looks like guessing what day is your special one. For some adults, maybe they never really have seen the day as something worth mentioning to most people around them.
For me (in the endless battle of the juxtapositions that surround my life here), I found myself sitting beside friends on a small floating dock looking over a perfect Caribbean beach that was blasting great music while the sun reflected perfectly clear blue water….thinking “Wow, God. I’m so glad I left behind what I thought made me happy.”
Maybe you know some of my story. Maybe you’ve lived some of my story. I can guess that whether it’s my exact story or not, your heart can understand where mine was. A peer group & acceptance, there’s happiness in that, right? Playing the good part, that’s what to do for a good life? And the kicker – a relationship – never been happier, there are butterflies in my stomach and of course life is at it’s best right now!
And in the moment, I really thought there wasn’t anything better. In fact, I was ready to set my future based on some of these things thinking that I’d hit the ultimate joy. I am so thankful for a Father who continues to chase us after we’ve gotten bored and turned to what we think is so much better – usually because we misunderstand what He said in the first place, or what it meant.
It wasn’t until after I gave myself over, gave it ALL, that I started to work towards true joy and happiness. It started with me at my lowest, breaking off the ‘happiness’ and sitting in the shattered pieces of the joys in life that I had built up, believing in Him but wondering what He’d do with the pain that I was now swimming in.
And now, I’ve said it to others who have checked in on me these past few months – I could not be more content with my life. I have true joy in my days and the things that I THOUGHT were ultimate, unbeatable happiness were so small or so small in their meaning compared to the true joy and truly full life that I love now.
Not saying that you’ll follow me (aka Him) & you’ll be at Wahoo Bay for your next birthday. And not saying that it’s all perfect – I mean, you’re reading words typed by a girl getting over a malaria/parasite combination that took her out for the week. But what I can promise – because I’m only repeating His promise – is true joy. And from experience, I can guess He’ll give you some pretty awesome blessings along the way too.
My DEAR friend happened to post this quote a few hours ago, and it so perfectly expresses this: “How sweet all at once it was for for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! You drove them from me, You who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, You who are sweeter than all pleasure.” -Augustine
Time to go change my bio to my new age!