Friday, November 2, 2012

Life in the Grey-- Or Maybe More of a Chaotic Kaleidoscope of Colors

I've never really been a strictly "black and white" kind of girl in the purest, metaphorical sense.  With that said, the "black and white" approach to LIFE does invade my thinking and actions quite often.  For example, I like my lists.  Correction, I LOVE my lists!  My lists have lists at times!!! The file folders on the my desktop have file folders within file folders within file folders. SO maybe the OCD aspect of my personality creeps into certain areas of my LIFE more than I would like to admit!  When I say I'm not a "black and white" thinker, my meaning is closer to something like this--My world has always operated better with a canvas of clearly planned out colors and brushstrokes.  In other words, I like to pretend I embrace spontaneity and the the chill "pose (pronounced pose-ay)" attitude of my Haitian friends.  When in reality, I like that approach to LIFE only when it's been well-planned and orchestrated.  Oh, LIFE in contradictions!!!  Truth be told, I cannot exist in a a strict "black and white" world, but I do want my world of color planned and precise.  Here lies the problem--maybe problem isn't the best word here--the frustration, the time of growth, we'll say.

Haiti is a land of grey--ambiguity, indecision, a land where many times people sit and wait for the next person to come along and tell them EXACTLY what to do, and until that person DOES come along, they will SIT and WAIT--pose (pose-ay).  HOWEVER, within that grey ambiguity, exists beautiful (yet chaotic) and vivacious explosions of rainbow hues!  Most days the grey and the rainbow exist side by side.  I don't know if I have the words to explain this contradiction, but my words of description are not needed for it to exist.

So how does this girl who embraces precision, ordered thinking, schedules, and plans learn to exist in this beautiful, yet often frustrating, contradiction?  I listen.  I observe.  I open myself up to the ambiguity and chaos, as challenging as that might be for me at times.  And I LEARN.  I CHANGE.  I EVOLVE. I GROW.  I FIND BALANCE--sometimes painfully.

As my journey here in Haiti continues to unfold more and more (as does my own spiritual evolution within that journey), I'm reminded of an episode from one of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia.  In the fifth book of the series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, an insolent, young British boy by the name of Eustace Clarence Scrubb is transformed into a scaly, fire-breathing dragon because of the thoughts in his heart and the selfish choices he has made.  His outward appearance now reflects his inner persona.  He has to spend the majority of the narrative as this creature.  As the story comes to a close, it is only by painful transformation at the claws of Aslan the lion, that the "dragon" is ripped away and he can return to his former self, that of a young boy.  Not just the priggish boy he was before though, a changed boy, a more understanding, loving, and compassionate boy--though he still has his faults, as do we all.  The important part is that his world view is different.  His paradigm has shifted because, like another great writer Harper Lee said in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, he has spent time in someone else's skin and walked around in it for awhile.  He learned empathy where once there was only selfishness and limited perspective.

As I leran to LIVE and LOVE and SPEAK UP for others in the grey, or at other times, LIVE and LOVE and SPEAK UP for others in this crazy, chaotic (yet beautiful) kaleidoscope of colors, what I am beginning to see most clearly of all is the beautiful, transformative brushstrokes in us ALL.  Sometimes, like Eustace--the boy who became a dragon, the transformation is painful, a ripping away  the scales of our old eyes, our old ways of seeing and doing things.  At other times, it is a ripping away of expectations and old perspectives, replacing them with infinitely more intuitive wisdom.  Here is a taste of what I am learning as my former self is ripped away--Haiti is hard.  Haiti is difficult.  Haiti is ambiguous.  BUT--Haiti is beautiful.  Her people are kind and warm and loving.  Haiti has a story (many stories in fact) to tell.  Haiti will teach you how to SPEAK UP for others.  Haiti will allow you to be a part of something so much BIGGER than yourself.  Haiti will change you by opening your eyes and opening your heart by drawing you closer to the heart of something on a much grander cosmic connection and farther and farther away from your own schedule and agenda.  

I will leave you with this--I don't always like the grey and the chaotic kaleidoscope gets to me sometimes.  HOWEVER, I would rather learn to live in the grey and embrace the kaleidoscope than continue on my OWN well-defined and well-ordered path, for it is in the grey and in the chaotic kaleidoscope that I'm discovering more and more of the heart of what is truly important in this life.  It is here that I am learning to trust and to rest and to listen.

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