The anniversary of her homecoming whispered some secret incantation over her soul and summoned the ghosts of the past. They swirl about her heart and mind, one moment drawing her into longing for land and first family lost, the next flinging her into old terrors and griefs. Somehow, here in the present, part of her is submersed in what came before and she acts out all her old parts in the play of her life.
Such a effervescent child, but day in and day out eyes that normally twinkle with humor and mischief are rimmed with tears. She lays her head down on her arms as she watches me prepare dinner.
“What is wrong, sweetheart?” I ask “You look so sad…”
“I don’t know, Mommy,” and her voice breaks with tears as she struggles to understand what is in her own heart.
Such a sweet child, but now she is sullen and uncooperative. I take deep breaths and we take breaks from each other so I can pray. I am frustrated, and selfishly do not want to go there again. I know it is not logical but part of me just wants her to be free, to be whole. But the journey to wholeness is long and at times, the going is slow. Sometimes we lose our way and find ourselves backtracking over the same rugged terrain so familiar we know every stone in the path.
I pray some more and there I find strength, comfort, and sweet hope sufficient for us both. I call her to me and we sit on the upstairs porch of our home. It is cool and dark, but we are wrapped in the soft white glow of lights hung on the railing.
“”Let’s talk about Haiti.” I say. “I’m not angry, sweetheart. I just want to understand and I want to help you. I want you to try to remember,” I say softly.
“I was in my bed,” she says. She is breaking now at the memory. The tears flow freely down her face and she grips my hand desperately. “It was when I first came there and it was so dark. There was no light.”
“What were you feeling?” I ask.
“I was so, so scared!”
And then she is in my arms. She molds herself against me and wraps arms and legs around me. I hold her near and we both weep for awhile. I whisper in her ear how sorry I am that she was afraid and alone. I grieve with her for all she lost.
And then I lead her to Hope.
“God is big,” I say. “He is big enough to heal all hurts. He is so big, he can take anything that happens in our lives, no matter how terrible, and turn it into blessing.” “Do you believe that?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says. “I believe.”
And I think we have made it to a new path in the journey.