One year ago this Thanksgiving, I had never stepped foot in Haiti or walked its mountains. I had never believed such a small place could be so beautiful. I had never seen houses flattened by a storm, or seen a place I love put forward as a definition of hopelessness. Never imagined we would be so welcomed. Never been so impressed by resilience and hope in the face of long odds.
A year ago, I had never been a father. I had never felt my daughter’s heavy head resting on my chest as she slept, or lain awake on restless nights just to watch her breathe. Never smiled so hard, or wished so deeply, or held so tightly. Never believed so passionately in potential.
Some say you are only truly grateful for something when it is gone. Today, I am trying to be grateful for the things that lie ahead as much as for what lies behind. Grateful for the might and maybe and hopefully, not just the had and did and was. Grateful for possibility and the opportunity to try. Aware that a year ago I could not have known the things I am most grateful for today.
I am grateful for tomorrow, and for hope that maybe, just maybe, by the grace of God we can make it better than today.
Paul Shetler Fast was born in Tanzania, grew up in Goshen, Indiana, and most recently called Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania home. Paul's professional degrees are in International Development and Public Health. He has been in the shared role of Representative for MCC Haiti, along with his wife Rebecca, since April 2016. In his free time, Paul cooks and photographs for the couples' food blog.