Because in the school of the Spirit,
man learns wisdom through humility,
knowledge by forgetting,
how to speak by silence,
how to live by dying.
-Johannes Tauler

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

do not (pass port)-au-prince, do not collect $200

About half way from Bassin Bleu to Port-de-Paix, at the end of our trip to Haiti and homeward bound, I was handed an excellent new topic (within a gut-wrenching realization) for a blog entry. It occurred to me at that moment that I had not a clue where my passport was...or if I even had it in my possession. A frantic-ish search and memory flash later, my stomach was in knots - the passport was in my backpack which I had attempted to donate to the people of Bassin Bleu in a rush that morning. 
It seemed somewhat unfathomable that something like this could be happening (and to me!) so that none of us even became too concerned about it. Fr. Rick had a copy anyway, and it's not like we're in Europe. Still, the knots in my stomach grew as I realized I didn't particular want to part with my pretty picture or Australian stamps (and now Haitian!) but that would be my new challenge: detachment from my passport! 
A funny story for people at home...until it turns out the Haitian government won't let me through with my color copy and driver's license. I would need to go to the US embassy in Port-au-Prince the next day to obtain an emergency passport to return home. 
I gave away almost everything I brought to Haiti (I didn't even have a clean shirt to wear home!) and some article of clothing were a bit difficult to fold and leave behind. Yet, in the midst of my steps towards poverty of spirit I learned that it is entirely acceptable and even required that when in a foreign country, covet your passport! 

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