On our early morning flight, the attendant offered me a drink, and with every intense ounce of me I asked for coffee. I may have grunted it, because she and the woman on my left bent their bodies in a knee-slapping laugh. I laughed, too, and then had to explain that I am a decade tired in the mother-way. I said, “I have four sons!”
“Oh!” the woman sitting there said, “I have three sons.” And there it was, the look we gave each other, an immediate bond. She is a woman from Joplin, Missouri, a place wiped out in 2011 by an EF5 tornado. I asked her how recovery was going, and she spoke of her dearest friends, how a light has gone out from their eyes. I saw the heartbreak as she wondered if she would ever see the light again.
How interesting it was to see an American woman’s heart after she found herself and her community in the rubble. I was in the air for my first trip to Haiti, a place devastated by a catastrophic earthquake in 2010. I thought how familiar the rubble is to us all in varying degrees. I thought how some of us have looked death straight in the face.
It’s the day after Easter, and I imagine that other mother we know, that mother of boys, our Mary –what she had seen of rubble, how she knew regimes would fall, how she saw her baby boy hang there and drip down. The light siphoned from His eyes. She saw it go out. The weight of every sin, she knew her son. She saw it bear down.
Then I imagine Him revealed to her, Resurrected Savior. Resurrected Son.
When Mary saw her Jesus, imagine what flashes crossed her mind: the day Gabriel came to her; the Son of the Barn; the joy that filled her arms in spite of her homelessness and out-of-wedlock status. Her boy was standing there in the new body, and did she laugh remembering how frustrated she was when he disappeared off to the temple?
Imagine her standing there in the awe of resurrection. Imagine her calling Him the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen. He was outside of her, released – God shining out of His eyes, the broken One healed. Imagine the light beaming like the universe answered, every paradox completed in Him.
Because she was Jesus’ mother, she knew Him precious, but did she know destruction would come before the building? Did she recognize the scattering as the only path to the gathering? She may not have prophesied such things of the church, but I believe she knew it for us all in that moment – ash is the birthing place of beauty.
When I was in Drouin, Haiti, I saw the kiss of a mother, and in it was the blessing of a kingdom. When I saw with my eyes this community that had faced such loss, mothers and fathers choosing which child to feed for the day, I saw Mary letting her baby go from her hands.
Two mothers in the community told us of their love, and I knew it by heart before they even spoke it. It’s what any of us feel when we see our child, know the beauty within, and believe completely that our babies are capable of everything good. These mothers spoke of their gratitude that the church was providing education, a huge meal, and jobs so that their families could move in the direction of healing after the loss of their funds for food and wellness when the world brought rice to Haiti. Drouin is a community of rice farmers, and the foreign aid annulled what good they had to offer. They starved and then barely endured cholera. They lost many.
Now I wish you could have seen them, the bright eyes and the lighter hearts of children singing and being fed. The Haitian church there in Drouin saw the babies and in them a future, the most beautiful things they’d ever seen. School isn’t free in Haiti, but the church gives it for free to 125.
She has risen from ashes, and we have this beautiful opportunity to come along side her, the church, as people who aren’t unacquainted with the rubble or the wilderness, as mothers and women, and as this great, global body of Christ. Drouin needs sponsorships to offer schooling to 250 more children, maybe the very ones I saw drinking and bathing along the canal. These sponsorships offer more than uniforms and books.
We get to be a small part of offering hope, the kingdom come. (In)Courage family, I want to see us come along side the Haitian church and Help One Now to grow the school and Drouin’s infrastructure, to offer education and food to 250 more children. This is Orphan Prevention. Come into the rubble with me. Remember it. Ashes everywhere. I have seen the beauty. I held them in my arms.
With the eyes of Mary to the beloved child, least of these, our greatest joy, we do unto Jesus now.