The above picture is a tease of blogs to come. It is the first photo we took in Utah over Spring Break. I need a few days to let the rock dust settle a bit before I can figure out how to raise the experience to words and get it from head to hands.
In the meantime, I am thinking so much about our visit with our wonderful “family” in Haiti: Michael and boys from the St. Joseph family. We drove to Phoenix to see the Resurrection Dance Theater. We found ourselves in the Fellowship Hall of a Lutheran Church and a broad smiling Michael Geilenfeld delighted to see us. The boys (now most of them men) came up single file with broad grins and warm embraces and shared stories with us of their harrowing ordeal some months ago.
Walnes Canges shared, “we have been through some difficult times”. Bill Nathan shared the horror of driving through the city streets en route to the airport and seeing dogs chomping on the flesh of the dead. Bill himself had a harrowing ordeal, jumping from the roof onto a neighbor’s house and negotiating with the neighbor’s watch dog for his life. As he recovered from broken ribs, he was given an opportunity to speak to a collection on bankers about his experience and his family in Haiti.
Michael was cheerful and resilient as ever. There is a way in which he is in his element in catastrophe: he has a vision for what is possible and an unusual ability to ‘let things go’. Just as the guesthouse was newly furbished and painted for an anniversary celebration, he can laugh at the plans of humans and look ahead to what can now come.
He told several stories of resurrection that I can’t get out of my head in the middle of this Lenten season: taking the plants from the grounds and resetting them atop the rubble to be a new garden. Plans to rebuild and the possibilities to build what they now need instead of making do as they outgrew their initial visions. It was refreshing to see the new art produced in Haiti, to see our friends so alive and well and to hear the amazing news that none of their extended families were killed in the earthquake. They have had to say goodbye to classmates and friends, to relocate to other areas of life. But they live a story of resurrection. This is not their first disaster nor will it be their last. It is the way of life for them: build it, let it go, rebuild it.
Michael’s laugh is ever strong and rambunctious and as infectious as ever. I look forward to seeing them again on their own soil. We are already talking about a possible trip with colleagues and friends. I know of no community so effective at celebrating life, art, beauty in the heart of struggle and adversity. After a couple of hours with them I wanted more time, more stories, more faith like theirs in my own heart and soul.
We were introduced to a new supporting organization: The Haitian Timoun Foundation. They support several projects for children in Haiti of which St. Joseph Family is one. The funds they receive for St. Joseph’s Home will help rebuild the home in Port Au Prince. Michael was enthusiastic about their ready willingness to send funds when requested and to turn the funds over quickly from donation to their use. At the moment, cash seems really important and the Haitian Timoun Foundation is responding to the need. We were happy to support it and pleased with all we learned about it! If you are interested, you can learn more at www.hopeinhaiti.org (and see pictures of the Resurrection Dance Theater – -sadly we forgot our camera this day!)
As we drove back from Phoenix it occurred to me that it is one thing to believe in resurrection or to think on it. It is something else entirely to live it again and again. One child at a time, one house at a time, one day at a time, one breath at a time.
Somehow the various worries of massage school were obliterated in their presence.
A few days later received my first acupuncture treatment here in Prescott and had a really powerful experience with that. The next day I hopped a few planes to Asheville and interviewed with an acupuncture school in Asheville. Frankly, I was disappointed to have to fly back east for that after visiting the school already, but it afforded me a chance to see some of my family members (alas, the time was too short for more than a few), and to meet Brinkley, my Mom’s new dog. He is very fluffy and kissy and noble in a curly blonde dog sort of way. I’m very pleased to have him in my family. I’m very grateful that Mom drove from the lake to see me before my flight out and brought me a sandwich for lunch (some things Mom’s do for us forever, I suppose). I got home at midnight in time to head for the Utah adventure Allen planned.
This 5 National Parks in as many days plan Allen cooked up was a huge adventure. We had high pressure, gorgeous weather, and amazing experiences. I will blog about them soon. At the moment, I am facing a 5 am wake up call for my Monday workout before class. I have a full day of class and 2 massage appointments. I can not tell you how far away from massage therapy my brain and hands are at the moment. But I can shift gears readily. It will feel good to have my usual pillow and my usual morning coffee again. Here is evidence we both survived five days of hiking:
Taken of me at Capitol Reef National Park after 2 1/2 hours of hiking through snow melt (aka mud, heavy concrete mud and finally reaching sandish ground with a bandana protecting my o so very white neck from the high desert sun — which seemed to dry me out much faster than snowfall!
Taken of Allen at Bryce Canyon National Park on a most perfect day of hiking in snow — pure and driven. Nothing slowed him down or tempered his enthusiasm. The man was born to be outside and soaking up beauty. He can make the rocks sing and make the high desert seem the most beautiful place in all the world. I am very lucky to be his partner and to participate in this adventure with him!