To see things from a different perspective is helpful, insightful and necessary.
It's been 10 days since my place touched down in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. It's been 10 days since my friends and I joined in prayer for the week ahead of us. It's been 10 days since I ate meals and worshipped with my new friends, Marckenson, John Dennis and Israel.
10 days since my perspective shifted.
As I prepared for my trip, the Lord kept telling me not to have any expectations. He told me to be open and just absorb a world that I truly knew nothing about.
Sure, I had briefly read about the earthquake that took place almost five years ago, but I didn't lose any sleep over it.
And while that sounds like a calloused and selfish statement, it doesn't make it any less true.
I didn't lose sleep because the event that changed so many lives didn't affect mine in the slightest....
However, as I sat in the box truck during the ride from the airport to the training center, the visual proof of someone else's reality was incredibly sobering.
I honestly expected to immediately feel guilt. A friend had shared that she struggled with guilt when she returned from her first mission's trip.
But, my first emotion was more of an internal statement regarding what I was seeing.
"holy crap....life just got real...."
Because, how do you look around you at months worth of trash rotting on the sidewalk and not be immediately jolted into a world you didn't truly realize existed?
I saw children wandering in the streets. Women selling spoiled food and random smartphone chargers on the sidewalks.
Cars so old and broken down - dark, black, billowing smoke poured out of their exhaust pipes.
Running water? Not for most. Women take large buckets to a filling station, fill them, and carry them back to the tent cities on their heads. And as they do, the buckets filled with those precious droplets slosh onto the pot-holed, unpaved roads beneath their feet.
What I look at as ultimate poverty, these people accept as their destined reality.
What I see as unbearable, they see as normal, daily existence.
What I see as discouraging and uncomfortable, they also share those sentiments.
Yet, through it all, I saw a beauty, a joy and an unbreakable zest for life from the people I know call my friends.
And what didn't affect me in the slightest five years ago, now seemed almost personal.
As I realized that the people I now called "friend" had been in the midst of the chaos, pain, agony and loss.
My protective fish bowl was shattered. And I had never been so glad to see broken glass.
I could so easily feel guilt, but instead I seek perspective.
Guilt won't change anything.