This past month-and-a-half marked some anniversaries for us. August 15th was our 6th wedding anniversary! Falling on a Saturday this year, we had the chance to dine out in style on the actual day. It's fun to remember that for our 5th wedding anniversary we were in our countryside home stay, focusing on language learning and cultural immersion.
We followed up our celebration the next weekend with a night in a tree-house and a fun pool day (more on this later.)
The month prior to our anniversary marked another important date for us: on July 15th it was exactly one year since we moved to Haiti! Very appropriately, we were at our annual all-staff retreat in Jacmel, getting to stroll the boardwalk together and visit the beach.
This year has been filled with memories, and I don't dare try to recount them all. However, I will say that this year has been one marked profoundly by:
Grace: being in a new place, and at first hardly understanding any of the dialogue and customs, we needed and experienced a ton of grace. Grace for ourselves, to accept that we don't know much, and if we mess up it's okay. This kind of grace opens up your world in an entirely new way that I hadn't quite experienced before.
Joy: in discovering. New phrases in Kreyòl, delicious fruits, beautiful colors, a new mountain trail to hike. Friends and co-workers have been our teachers through and through (some gentle, some abrupt), helping us to carve out a life here in Haiti.
Confrontation: as your experiences expand, so does your worldview. New realities, ideologies, press up against your own. It can clash with what you hold to be true, and lead to some inner dissonance and at times total confusion. But the wrestling process is a good thing, a toning and stretching of how you think about and process the world. This is one thing I am sure is going to continue into the next years; I hope it does, because this feels to me like a trademark of the active spiritual life.
Thankfulness: there has seriously been so much to be thankful for. The prayers of others, our home, the small beauties in each day. Grace. Recognizing the big and small things as the workings of God makes me a lot more thankful for each thing as it comes.
Love. I claimed Ephesians 3:14-21 as a prayer for myself during our term here in Haiti, and as I'm writing these reflections I'm realizing how much God has revealed and is revealing about new aspects of His deep love for me. Wow, amazing!
One major gift and bonus of this past year has been two great visits from friends. Katie, dear friend for over 13 years now, came to see us in May. We had a beautiful, adventure-filled week! Katie is great with a camera, among other things, and did this impromptu photo shoot of Ted and me around our house and neighborhood. I thought sharing these photos now would be a great way to commemorate this ''anniversaries'' edition blog post. :) Cheers!
Photos compliments of Katie at Hope Photographie (Fullerton, CA).