Two post in one day, I know.. .it’s a lot. Especially from the sporadic blogger who goes months with nothing and then, BAM, two in one day.
Tonight is Camp Out here at Quisqueya and being the Student Activities Director, I am sort of in charge/obligated to be here all night. My Student Council has done so much work, an amazing job planning, its going to be a really fun night and I am looking forward to it (except for the pressure of the whole being in charge/responsible-for-everything-that-could-go-wrong-thing). I really wanted to blog about camp out, after camp out, but I was taking a minute and found myself in my lazy chair in my apartment reading this book someone borrowed me. This book that had some hype among our teens, this book that I am either reading at such a perfect time or it was a totally terrible decision to pick it up at all.
I’m reading “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green, which is a quick read and I have to say I am enjoying it. I have heard great reviews. Its about girl with cancer, terminal cancer, who meets boy in cancer remission.
Today is one of those days that crept up on me, one of those days that all the sudden out of no where is here. Every year on March 20th I write some post about Todd. On this day, the anniversary of day he lost his battle with cancer. This day for the last few years has sucked.
But today didn’t suck when I woke up. I am sort of jazzed for the kids and I think its going to be a great Camp Out. Its sort of perfect actually, they have a bon fire planned and so many memories I have of Todd are sitting around a bon fire. I’m finding this year on this 5th anniversary I am not so much sad, I’m more just flooded with memories. Some really good ones and some well Todd ones. As I’m sitting in my chair reading this book about cancer and terminal illness the words resonate with me.
“The thing about dead people,” he said, and the stopped himself. “The thing is you sound like a bastard if you don’t romanticize them, but the truth is…complicated, I guess. Like, you are familiar with the trope of the stoic and determined cancer victim who heroically fights her cancer with inhuman strength and never complains or stops smiling even at the very end, etcetera?”
Please don’t hear me say that Todd was not heroic, he fought a hard battle and lost and it sucked. But he complained, as he should have, cancer sort of gives you that right. I remember the time I saw him cry because it hurt and the time I was there when he was doing his daily injection of Interferon treatment into his own leg. He was tough and he fought. And he lost. As I remember him and try to honor his memory, I feel a need to remember him as he was. Tough and kind, sort of a grump-a little bit mean even, sly and a big giant baby at times (pre and post cancer), loving and strong. He had this power to make me love and forgive him with just a smile, that smirk I can still see when I close my eyes.
I can still see your face, there are certain smells that stop me in my tracks. You are so missed and so loved by so many. It might be cliche, but I know you’re in heaven smiling down, shining on us all. Today I just want to say Hi. To tell you, I still think about you. This picture is a moment frozen in time. The rest of us don’t look quite the same, we have all traveled down different paths, paths we never could have foreseen since it was taken. But we have all taken you with us. We keep you in our hearts.
Time has really got away from me. There are 16 days left in 2014 and this is only my third post of the year! I just might have to resolve to do better at blogging in the new year!
I have been running a lot lately. The last time I trained for a half marathon was 2010; I was living in America and I was not a believer, well not a follower at least. The last time I trained for a half marathon I was running with the Team in Training and raising money towards cancer research. I ran for Todd, a piece of my heart who lost his battle with cancer.
This time around training has been a bit different.
I am training on the trash covered streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti as opposed to the snow covered streets of Rochester, New York.
I am training sporadically, depending on time and heat and where the latest riots are taking place as opposed to the regimented group training I remember from 2010.
And this time, I am running for life, not death.
I am again running with a group, or more for a group. This time I am running for TeacHaiti, a non profit in Haiti, a school started by my good friend, Miquette McMahon. A group of us are running to raise money for TeacHaiti.
This time I am running for education, for life.
Since moving to Haiti life has changed me. I have stumbled across many organizations here that breath life into not only the people of this country, but also those of us who have come to call it home. So many of them who are involved in education in one way or another.
Some organizations have taught me exactly what I don’t want to be involved in, while others have shown me how to live.
I am running for education.
Education is knowing and loving (and being immensely loved by) the midwives at Heartline Haiti, who have taught me how to be a better woman, who have so much love and affection for the women of Haiti, the mommas and essentially the future. The midwives who educate women on breast feeding, caring for a new infant and even contraceptives and the rights we have as women, as humans. Education is learning I have value.
Education is what I do as a teacher at Quisqueya Christian School. It is standing in front of my classroom in my Senior Transitions class, in front of my seniors and tell them to stand up against peer pressure. Not to be the norm, but to be the change. To stand firm in your faith, to go out of your way to love, to forgive and to live. It is the education I am gaining from knowing them, teaching them; from loving them. Education is seeking after wisdom.
“My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.” Psalm 49:3
Education is breaking the cycle of poverty. It’s knowing there is something better out there, something more. It is having a dream, wanting a better life-a better life for yourself, a better life for your children. Education is more than going to school and learning, it is knowing you are beyond blessed for the opportunity to go to school, to learn. Education is finding life in the wisdom we seek.
“and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills” Exodus 35:31
Education is life.
Education is knowing there is more to this life, knowing Jesus died on the cross to wash away my sin. Knowing Jesus loves me, knowing God is looking out for me, knowing the Spirit is breathing life into me. Education is value, it is wisdom, it is life.
This time, I am running for life. I am running for education and whatever that might mean to you, but for me, it means life. For me, it means coming to Haiti. It means realizing there is freedom in my beliefs, there is freedom in Jesus, wisdom in education and life in wisdom.
As I ran my six miles yesterday, I found myself needing to recall the reason I am doing this run. In the heat, struggling to put in the miles, to wake up early, to run up that hill (because everything is up, even when you are going down, you’re still going up). I remembered my education. The life lessons I have learned, the life I was born into where education was not an option, but a requirement-given to ALL. Haiti is so different. Education is not for all. Freedom is not for all. The gospel is not for all; it has not yet reached every house hold, every ear, every soul. I took so much for granted growing up in the states, but Haiti has taught me so much.
“The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.” Proverbs 19:8
I think its perfect this run is happening around the Christmas season. Its perfect I am running to raise money for TeacHaiti (click here if you want to help me do that). It’s perfect that it’s hard and challenging and even up hill as so much of life can seem to be. It is perfect that this time I am running for life, not death.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13