Part of it was finding myself in what appeared to be a war zone. Smoke, smoldering fires, destroyed buildings, and dead bodies. The bodies. Lines of dead, uncovered, mangled bodies. Nameless. Lifeless. Futureless.
Part of it was the eyes. I look into people's eyes for a living but I will never forget the look in the eyes of the people in Port Au Prince that morning. Fear. Hopelessness. Confusion. They had spent the night hoping not to die. Most had stood huddled in the streets away from any buildings as the aftershocks continued. For hours they stood. Eyes wide. Nerves on end. Even as we arrived after sunrise to search for friends, the people still stood. The ones not digging through the rubble or holding dying loved ones stood with eyes that will both haunt me and drive me for the rest of my life.
Part was the realization that had I remained in the comfort and security of my job, and home, and family, and future, and church, and ministry in the U.S. I would not be the one God would use to help a people heal from the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual wounds of losing over 250,000 lives in 43 seconds.
Part of it was the word. As we put up makeshift clinics in the streets- far enough away from any buildings to keep people at ease- we tried to clean wounds, stitch people up, dig out shards of metal and concrete. We carried the mortally wounded on doors through the streets to clinics. We comforted the dying and their loved ones. And in the midst of the desperation and overwhelming chaos I kept telling God I was an optometrist. I kept reminding God that this was not what I signed up for. Then I got a word. Not an audible word. But a clear word in my spirit. As I said I am just an optometrist, God said "no you are a Christian. And THIS is what Christians do."
I was ruined. I can never go back. I can never go back to being ok with what's happening around us while we play church and act like we are doing what Christians do. I can never go back to being content with chasing the American dream and giving God a token nod as I pursue wealth, comfort, security, and honor. I am ruined. I don't necessarily like it. At times I wish I didn't weep over the condition of the church. I wish it didn't break my heart knowing that there are enough Christians to care for every orphan in orphanages around the world but we don't. At times I hate being angry about the prejudice and racism that is allowed to fester in the hearts of friends. I wish I could just be content. Good job. Nice house. Pickup truck and fishing poles. Retirement account and people that like me.
But I can't. I am ruined. Ruined to mediocrity and temporal thinking. All I can see is me standing before God and wanting to have something to give back to him. Some gold. A little silver. A few precious stones. I dread the thought of standing on a pile of wood, hay, and stubble and trying to explain to my Jesus that I went to church every Sunday. I gave my tithe- of my gross even. I was good. Better than some anyway. "It was just so busy Jesus." Work. Church. Ball games. Civic clubs. I did the best I could. Come on Jesus, you know how it is.