For the final blog post in the Haiti series, I’m publishing an essay that was written by Amber after her trip. Here is the note I wrote to her once I’d read it:
“I literally whispered out loud ‘Wow!’ when I was done reading your essay. It is beyond profound and beautiful. I would like to publish this on my blog . . . as the last installment of the Haiti series, if you are agreeable to that . . . I think it’s the perfect ending to the series . . .
“. . . Amber, you are incredibly talented. I promise you I am not just saying that. You have a way with words that I wish I had! Please keep writing, even if it’s just for fun, and know I’m cheering for you!”
So, without further adieu, I present:
Gratitid (gratitude in Haitian Creole) by Amber Lenhert
I want to share with you my gratitude for teaching me to take in every moment because time flies, for giving me the gift of hope, and for showing me how to love others.I met you the day I had to leave my mission trip to Haiti; you were my most treasured orphan (living in the mission’s orphanage) that I came to know. I learned from you to appreciate moments with people because my time with you was so short and I took advantage of it; I don’t want to go through that again, it was too joyless. Time waits for nobody, so I need to take in moments with these people I love because I don’t know what the future has in store for me. It’s not within my reach to guarantee tomorrow. I knew of the saying ‘time flies so live in the moment’ but I had never really let it sink into my heart and applied it to my life. I finally started applying it to my life when it hit me that I didn’t have more time with you. You and I grew from strangers to friends instantly, but it wasn’t until I realized I had to leave that night that this parable made its way into my heart. Coming to that realization I so passionately wanted to guarantee myself more time to be with you. Time waits for nobody, and I now have that as a reminder to live in each moment.
You gave me the virtue of hope when you showed your vulnerability to me and let me into your life so quickly. I had started to feel woeful since I hadn’t found that place where I belonged yet then I would look around and see how everybody else found their niche. I was at a place where I was feeling like a letdown because I was on this impactful mission trip and it hadn’t left a mark on my life yet, but on the last day you showed up. You showed up and reminded me that I can’t forget hope in a situation so quickly; what looked like a failure turned out to be the most notable fulfillment of my life. I was looking at the negativity in the situation, when all I needed to do was wait one more day to see your face light up when I walked over to you.
I found you four days into my trip, you were sitting there looking like the universe was against you; I could see the absence of self-worth in your eyes. You wore your heart on your sleeve because nobody looked your way but for some reason I did. I looked your way and although at the time I didn’t realize it, I wanted you to have an abundance of self-worth. I was drawn to you, I was drawn to your pain and I needed to show you how much you are loved because through my eyes it didn’t seem like anybody had before. Thank you for showing me that everybody has a story and everybody, no matter who they are, needs to be loved in some way. Because of your story, I look for ways love others where they are being crushed under the hands of life. Every person I see has a story I don’t know about so I need to love than rather give them a heavier burden.
I am not only thankful that you’re in my life but I am blessed beyond reason. You have grown my heart in a way nobody else has been able to do. To me you aren’t just an orphan from Haiti, you are a dear friend. I cannot thank you for all that you’ve taught me! Goodbye my friend, I pray I see you soon; I miss you terribly.
Copyright © 2015 by Amber Lenhert All Rights Reserved
Reprinted with author’s permission.