The cool breeze whips across my face, my knuckles tighten and engage their white-grip.
The bus sharply turns around each corner, providing for uncomfortable closeness in-between passengers. There I am, closing my eyes, losing my battle of oncoming drowsiness from the Dramamine I took thirty minutes early to help prevent motion sickness. Despite my attempts, the headache and nausea begin to set in, and then I realize... I've been holding my breath.
This is a very typical scene for me and my experiences with public transportation in Haiti, particularly with the bus ride from Jacmel to Port-au-Prince.
For about $5.00 USD, I can take a two and a half hour ride from Jacmel to the capital city of Port-au-Prince. This is my main option for transportation currently, seeing that I do not have a vehicle of my own. I pile into a fifteen passenger van, so over capacity, any US highway patrol would cringe. Taking Dramamine to help fight my battle of motion sickness I've carried with me since childhood, is a prerequisite for boarding nearly any moving vehicle in Haiti. And lastly, earphones are inserted into my ears to attempt to zone out in trance of the beautiful Haitian scenery.
Yet, it never fails, as we big to whip around the sharp turns of the winding mountain road, I find myself forgetting to breathe. I'm not sure if it out of fear, or because I'm avoiding fully taking in all of the smells engulfing my nostrils.
Being the romantic writer that I am, I couldn't help but find a correlation for my lack of oxygen intake and walking the straight and narrow path of following God.
So often, the destination, which we are headed towards, seems to be on a road quite similar to the one I just described. Sharply jerking around turns, as our positions become increasingly uncomfortable.
And there we are, in the midst of discomfort and unpleasant surroundings, wondering if we will arrive at our destination safe and sound - forgetting to breathe.
Perhaps this action gives us a sense of control... a false sense of control. That if we hold on tight enough, clench our teeth and clutch our belongings with all of our might, it will somehow affect the driving ability of the chauffer.
So often, we find ourselves on this journey. A journey that deep inside we know is headed towards goodness, provision, protection and blessing.
However, when the route becomes unfamiliar, and the path seems treacherous, we hold our breath, losing faith that the One who is control, steering our helm, knows exactly where and when we will arrive.
We replace trust and peace in the waiting with anxiety, worry, and doubt.
Forgetting who is truly in control.
Who is guiding, directing and navigating every move, every step, every turn.
There are seasons of our lives when the time comes to awaken, arise and step out upon the waters.
To fasten our seat belts and allow ourselves to be taken on a wild ride. It is in these times of ups and downs, and the unknown that it is so simple to give into the innate, human desire for control.
We doubt our choices.
We contemplate getting off before we reach the destination.
We forget to breathe.
This past weekend, I spent time in a town about 20 miles outside of Port-au-Prince, known as Gressier. There isn't much to Gressier, except one organization that is rather extraordinary. Sitting on top of Bellevue Village, or what has been commonly known as "Voodoo Mountain," is Respire Haiti Christian School. A school that provides opportunity, education, empowerment and hope to over 500 children in the Gressier area.
Respire (Res-per-ray), was founded in 2011 by a then 24-year-old, single Megan Boudreaux. Megan had only visited Gressier once before for a very short time, before she knew that God was calling her there to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of impoverished and orphaned children in the community of Gressier. She didn't have a 3-step plan, she didn't have hundreds of thousands of dollars in support, she had a vision and the assurance that God was calling her to be a voice.
Respire is the Haitian Kreyol and French word for breathe. A fundamental pillar in the functions of respire is just that, to breathe. To inhale the goodness of the Lord and allow it to bring restoration, renewal and refreshment.
Respire has since expanded the reach and has begun to develop community projects, such as a micro loan program for small business owners. Pictured below is one of their loan recipients, Flore, who runs a small roadside restaurant not far from the Respire campus.
Respire has allowed the Lord to breathe His life into their ministry, to breathe a God-sized dream into existence.
Breathing, letting go, and trusting.
A God who works for those who wait for Him.
When we release the reigns, take a deep breath and wait, it allows the Lord to show up in pretty marvelous and spectacular ways.
Relax, and just breathe.