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
For those of you who know me REALLY well you know my favorite movie of all time is The Wizard of OZ, I love the books, the movie, the life lessons-all of it! Sometimes I feel like Dorthy, off on this incredible journey that happened to her, meeting incredible friends, overcoming struggles, but ultimately making it to OZ and home. Unfortunately for me coming home is not as simple as taping my heels together-first of all I don’t have Ruby Red slippers and second, well we all know it just doesn’t work that way.
I travel back and forth to Haiti and the US, calling each place home. I grew up in a small town in upstate NY, went to college in Rochester, I drove often between my mothers and fathers house, grandmas, the lake; yet wherever I laid my head at night I always knew I was home.
In the book, Glinda told Dorthy she always had the ability to go home, it was with her all along; all she had to do was think real hard and say those magical words “there’s no place like home”-and the ruby slippers helped of course! Well I don’t have to think real hard, I just make home wherever I am. I suppose as corny as it is ‘Home is where the heart is.’
As long as I do my best to keep friends and family in my heart whenever I am away, I know them will always be with me- wherever life takes me. NY will always be home…and so will Haiti. Work is here, friends are here, family is here-life is here. Home is where your heart is and it sure is good be home!