Tonight I am up late piecing together a four minute highlight video of the two week mission trip to Haiti that I had the privilege of going on last month. Listening to the reflections of my teammates, watching the footage of orphans, and hearing the laughter of my friends, I am transported back to each place and filled with conflicting emotions.
On one hand, I long to be back there. I felt needed, significant. This feeling was shared by one team member in an interview, “The one thing that I crave, I think we all crave, is being significant in the world we live in to make a difference.”
On the other hand, I am wrecked by the experience: the joy in the lives of others who have nothing, the fear in the eyes of people living way outside their comfort zone, the numbing distance in the eyes of little kids without parents. The smells of waste and burning trash fill my nostrils. Echoing in my ears are the sounds of roosters crowing, kids playing, and giant dump trucks speeding down gravel roads. It’s all there. Staring at me from my computer monitor and my memories.
It’s taken me almost three weeks to realize the importance of expressing these emotions.
For two weeks, I could barely function. I found myself in the deepest depression of my life. I wanted to hide from the task of editing the footage. I didn’t want to relive the experience. I felt like a tremendous failure as I physically, emotionally, and spiritually just couldn’t process what was buried deep in my soul.
It wasn’t until I had lunch with four of the guys on the trip that I realized, I am not alone. My experience was validated by their encouraging words. I am not alone. These emotions are real and lead me to a place of acceptance.
I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.