I listened to an NPR story last week about a songwriter who had written a song about a man wrongly accused for murder. He sat in prison for 40 years without having committed a crime.
When he wrote the song and sang it on small stages and big stages and collective venues and all over the country he began to forget who and what the song was about.
He said, “You can’t help but change the story by telling it. You become part of it. It is a big responsibility to steward someone else’s story.”
If only 100 children can become sponsored in one of the poorest communities in Haiti then we can send them to school and feed them every day. We will even be able to buy farming equipment for their community and pay their teacher’s salaries. Drouin, the place that no one loves needs love.
And at Ferrier. Oh Ferrier. Where we piggy-backed the babies and watched their new homes being built. And we listened to their pastor and patron tell their stories about borders and brothels and seven-year-old girls who were rescued from them.
But how do I tell their stories well? When I am not them and I don’t live in their homes and I do not drink their water how can I steward them?
This holy stewardship is stunning in it’s weight.
I’ve become a part of this story and to extract myself from it is almost impossible. But I don’t want to change a single piece of it.
I don’t want to let their beautiful stories filter through my impossibly English words and change them in any way. I want them to stay amazingly Haitian and island-bound because even in the midst of all the struggle there is insane beauty.
What a sacred duty this is. To feel the hands of these children on my arms and legs and around my waist and through my hair and hope beyond hope that I do them justice.
But simple justice is what they need and it is the same things we all want for our children.
- Safety (so many little girls I’ve seen walking alone on the streets of Cap-Haitian and Port-au-Prince and I can’t help but think about my little girls)
- Full tummies (so many stories about eating only every other day so that the whole family can make it)
- A good place to live (mud homes and no homes and tin homes everywhere along the road)
- A future (when grief and despair hold a country hostage the future seems bleak)
It is the same thing I want for my girls. The same.
So I will work hard these weeks to steward these stories well. I will feel the weight of this holy responsibility and I know that even as I should do my best to extract myself from this story, I know myself too well. I cannot.
It breathes in me and it hopes in me.