What an Opportunity

Written by Carla Lyster.  Carla has been serving with COTP in Haiti since 2012, the longest commitment by any international staff member in COTP’s history.  Currently, she is a house parent in the Peace House and Child Case Manager for our On-campus Care.

So there’s this game – “Never Have I Ever.” People play it to get to know each other better. You complete the sentence with something you haven’t done and then everyone has to say if they’ve done it or not. I think sometimes there are points involved, but honestly the game confuses me a bit so I’m not sure if you want points or if they are to be avoided. The reason I bring it up, though, will hopefully become clear. I suspect that, before COVID 19, many of my (and many of my friends) “Never Have I Ever” answers may have looked a little different than some of yours.

Maybe someone would have said “Never have I ever…”

Gone to the grocery store and not know when I could go again.

Spent weeks in a row without leaving my neighborhood.

Not known when my kids would go back to school.

Looked at the food on my shelves and wondered if it would last long enough.

Wondered if I or my kids could get healthcare if we needed it.

Tried to explain to little souls, without scaring them, that it isn’t safe to go somewhere fun and it won’t be for awhile.

Read government alerts telling me to travel while I still can, because soon, the option may not exist.

Realized so fully that I am definitely not in control.

At some point in the last couple of years, I have lived each of these experiences. My friends here have lived each of these experiences. Our Haitian coworkers have lived many of these experiences and So. Much. More.

And now, what an opportunity, friends, because so many more of you have now lived these experiences too. What an opportunity for all of us to see how similar we are. What an opportunity for compassion and empathy. What an opportunity to see more clearly into how many around the world live. What an opportunity to realize our weakness and trust in God’s strength. What an opportunity to learn and grown. What an opportunity to change for the better.

I know that it’s scary right now. It’s overwhelming. It’s unknown.

But God is sovereign. He is not surprised. He will bring us through.

This will end eventually. And when it does, may we understand each other better. May we remember. May we be better.