Christmas card we just sent to friends and family:
Sunday will be our 4th Christmas in Haiti, a place that is unfortunately known less for its beauty, generosity, spiritual vitality, dancing, art and revolutionary heritage than for violence, insecurity and material poverty. Though (or perhaps because) our years here have been marked by multiple hurricanes, an earthquake, a cholera epidemic, political instability and some difficult personal experiences, this place has taught us a lot about the power of Hope.
In a meditation titled "The Gates of Hope," Minister Victoria Safford writes:
"Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of hope — not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of self-righteousness … nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of 'Everything is gonna be all right,' but a very different, sometimes very lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it might be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle — and we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see."
What a fitting meditation for this season. In this exciting year, people around the world have taken to the streets demanding change to the systems that create poverty, violence and oppression. All of creation groans for a new heaven and a new earth, a world recreated with peace and justice. At Christmas, we are reminded of Hope and reminded, too, of our responsibility to be gate-keepers of Hope, to imagine both the world as it could be and ourselves as co-creators in building that world.
Hope is in part what has kept us in Haiti. We continue to take joy in Haiti's beauty, spirit, generosity and dancing. That joy usually balances out the daily heartache - and, let's be honest, the frequent frustrations - of living here. Alexis started a new job in July, working for a group called Other Worlds. Ben is still taking pictures. Our garden is green and flowering, Luna (the cat) is still spoiled, we go hiking in the mountains as often as possible and we're still blogging at www.blexi.blogspot.com. We remain infinitely grateful for the love of our friends and family.
Merry, Merry Christmas!
Love, Joy, Peace and HOPE,
Alexis and Ben
“Those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.” Isaiah 9:2