Pastor Lyonel on the afternoon of October 20, 2010 in Port Au Prince.
Bright light, proximity to the solar center in the math and physical being adds to the confusion when Lyonel asks me, "Why did you come to Haiti?" Seems like all the cars in Haiti travel with the windows up, which to me is taking into the small box tons of ppm for all of us to breathe in, exhale, breathe in, exhale and so on. Until the headache starts ninety six hours later and your entire thought process leads you back to the understanding that no one ever chose to be born into this type of dire living condition. So I told him pretty much everything that I had which set into motion an educational transfer, the one that maybe I had been searching for. I explained to Lyonel and my two companions sitting close to each other behind me that first I wanted to visit Haiti because I knew that there are serious problems that have been compounded by the earthquake. My intention was to try to make a visual and written document that I could share with people back in America, in the hopes that a small bit of awareness may spread. Secondly, because of hearing the word Haiti in my head and letting go of what I thought I was doing, space opened to receive the unplanned opportunity to help the real helpers back in Mecklenburg with some on the ground recon.
I blamed my intuition, a suitable scapegoat. As my answer to his original question started to end I found myself coming back to the why and then told them about my whole understanding that no one chose to be born to the one landscape, one nation or division that they were. With that I am aware that my American brand was pure luck, like a mule eating broth which makes me further understand that the rest of the land on the planet is home to humans who made the same not choice. Almost seven billion, half sleep while the other half enjoy the projection of the relatively fixed sun's rays on the surface of a spinning earth. All of those people, their energy and potential. Some live in packed, densely populated cities elbow to elbow with individual faces of expression and feelings. Others dwell in more rural enclaves far from the chaos of ten million, like the community we were headed to.
Lyonel listened, then spoke when I finished. "Interesting thoughts", he commented before adding, "Now let's take that a step further." It was my turn to listen as he described some basic principles that he holds to be true because they are proven constantly when observed. Lyonel asked, "When one breaks the law, one is subject to the consequences, would you agree?"
Of course. Then he went on to explain that there are many types of laws that we as the human race have the potential to break. For example: Laws of a particular Government, Spiritual Laws, Moral Laws, Natural Laws and so on. And, when you break one of these or many and you are an individual that is one thing. You will have to deal with the outcome on our own terms, for and by yourself. But, if you are a leader with responsibility to the people you govern on any level and you break those laws for your own immediate gain then the future generations wind up having to pay those consequences. "That is what you see here in Haiti", the pastor said, "the people of Haiti are living in a condition that is the result of the generations prior consistently breaking the laws."
Pastor Lyonel went on to say that just like not choosing to be Haitian that these people did not ask for those laws to be broken over a span of the last roughly 250 years. Living in the aftermath of not only an earthquake but the greed and senseless actions of others generations prior who are long dead and gone. The scale of the travesty sets in as I realize that right now, those same laws are still perpetually being broken by leadership around the world. And so then, who does the leadership work for?
As we sped along east on the newly asphalted unmarked road I stared out the window into the vibrant hillside stretching all the way to lands end and wondered about the future of the place I was born to. When the full ramifications of our collective law breaking under the guise of progress catches up with the people back home what will it look like? What I saw in Haiti was real, Lyonel makes complete sense and what he describes is obvious when you look at it.
Lyonel told me that he understands the helpless feeling and confusion that sets in when one tries to figure out how to actually change things and fix the problem Of course neither one of us ever had say in the actions taken by our leaders, so what is there to do? I hear that a lot, "Oh, I can't control that, so I am only going to think about what I can." Looks to me as if none of this is in any one's control so maybe it is time to give in and start undoing some of the many broken laws created over time.
For Pastor Lyonel it is about making right the conditions in the now created by so much wrong doing past. Service to the people with assurance and honesty. The problems of Haiti may never be fixed entirely, but in singular circumstances wrongs will be righted by people conscious enough to know what they must do. "Letting go is key", he said. When I heard his voice say those words, I realized that was the third time in about a month that phrase was spoken to me. I let it set into my cortex, closed my eyes for a second and visioned an entire world ready to let it go. I work on it every day knowing that those times I achieve it, I actually feel better about the bigger stage around me. And it is hard to do, until I fully understand that it is actually the easier option compared to holding on. Holding on can be such an effort, I thought to myself as I looked out over the tops of the palm trees at a beautiful rising landscape against a bright blue sky.