Mud-Wrestling with God: Holiday Thoughts from Haiti

I know I should be bringing you important updates about current events in Haiti—about the cholera epidemic that’s killing folks by the thousands and about the obvious fraud in Sunday’s presidential elections.  But I need a bit of a break from such serious matters today.  So it’s in this spirit of departure from the muck and mire of disease and politics, that I bring you a story about my recent up-close and personal encounter with, well, muck and mire.

(Now, I must confess that the idea for this post—the reminder that meditating on mud can make for marvelous writing, came yesterday from a blog I’m newly in love with called “Sunshine in London.”  I discovered this blog from another site I REALLY like called “Notes from Africa,” and I’m learning lots about being grateful, thankful for even these muddiest of matters, from a series of posts at “Grandeur Vision.”  These three blogs are all well worth reading!)

At any rate, I realized yesterday I had not shared my own adventure with what we might call, for lack of a better term, “mud-wrestling.”

This encounter with the muck and mire that can be Haiti toward the end of the rainy season happened several weeks ago—just days before Hurricane Tomas actually brought that season to an official, if no less muddy, end.  I was returning from a two week trip to the US for an honest-to-goodness American vacation.  Sara and I don’t get many of them.  Though we travel a lot, traveling for pleasure is not usually part of the package.

So I was returning to Haiti feeling somewhat rested—ready to get down and dirty, though not exactly knee deep, in the challenges ahead.

Or so I thought—

I should have known it didn’t bode well when our security folks didn’t meet my plane and I had to make it through the Port-au-Prince airport without the special assistance Samuel provides.

But, I wasn’t terribly worried.  I survived the fight for my baggage.  I fought the good fight, the get-out-of-my-way-or-I-may-have-to-kill-you challenge that is getting one’s bags and getting away with one’s life.

I had not only gotten my bags, I had survived my driver surviving the traffic, gotten my groceries, gotten my dog, gotten inside my gate, gotten beyond my front door and down a few steps—

Before falling flat on my ass in a river of mud.

Not just a little mud, I might add—much mud, deep mud, muddy mud.

Muddy facts:

1.  My neighbor on the mountain above had been digging a new drive.

2.  It had rained a lot on that newly dug drive.

3.  The newly dug drive in its now liquid form had flooded my floor with a good inch of mud.

4.  I was not entirely pleased with his development.

Until I thought of something Sara says when it rains here in Haiti—something she thinks about when it seems the torrents of wet will never stop falling—especially at night when damp dark soaks the soul of a person—

Especially a mother, holding her baby, in a make shift tent—barely a tarp over a mud slick floor—

I thought of that mother.

that baby.

that floor.

I thanked God for my mud.

I thanked God for my floor.

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

14 thoughts on “Mud-Wrestling with God: Holiday Thoughts from Haiti

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Kathryn! Wow, that must have been a weird and surprising experience – slipping into mud inside your house!
    I do know what you mean about thinking of others who barely have a roof over their heads … I think of that often in Cape Town when it’s cold and stormy. And here in London, I am thankful for warmth and shelter and a warm bed.


  2. What a great perspective! Thanks for sharing this great story. I’m thankful to have a house. I was lucky enough to buy it a year ago, in Arizona. When so many people are losing their homes and their jobs, I kept my job and bought my first house. And now, because it’s two stories, my cat gets lots of exercise up and down the stairs, so he’ll live a longer and healthier life. That’s what I’m thankful for. Oh yes, and I’m thankful that everyone I love is alive, and healthy, and working. 🙂



      • By the way, this . . .

        “I should have known it didn’t bode well when our security folks didn’t meet my plane”

        . . . is said so nonchalantly that makes you sound like some kind of celebrity! 😉

        About the gym: You keep on mentioning the gym. Are you very fit?


      • Gosh, Lisa, I am soooooo far from celebrity! It actually says more about how unsafe Haiti is and how CRAZY the airport is. On average there’s a kidnapping a day in Port-au-Prince, and the airport may be one of the most chaotic places in the city. I should probably do a post about this.

        I suppose I am fit, but still over-weight. My friend Jean says I have “Michelle Obama” arms (i.e. toned) but the rest of me looks like hell.

        Thanks so much for these comments! It helps me think of things to write about that might clarify.


  3. I’m late reading the blog. Thank you so much for mentioning my blog.

    I cried thinking about the women and children in a make shift tent. I wonder how they feel/think about their situation?

    This holiday season I am thankful for the experience of Life Itself.


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