A few days before I left Haiti, I wore them while our team covered Casqueya Chapel’s trim with bright blue paint. While we painted it began to rain and the dirt were standing on, quickly turned to mud. Upon arriving back at our house in Haiti, I took off my shoes and left them on the front door; and a few days later, I threw them in a plastic bag and brought them back to the States.
I am unsure of exactly what caused the delay in their cleaning. Maybe it was the fact that I haven’t worn them since, or maybe it’s simply because the dirt was Haitian dirt. When I cleaned them, I cleaned off Haiti.
Regardless of the whys, this morning they were cleaned. As I sprayed my sandals with the garden hose, I found myself remembering moments and faces, and humming Brooke Fraser’s Albertine.
Now that I have seen, I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead
Now that I have held you in my own arms, I cannot let go till you are
I am on a plane across a distant sea
But I carry you in me
and the dust on, the dust on, the dust on my feet
I will tell the world, I will tell them where I’ve been
I will keep my word
I will tell them Albertine
I have never been to Rwanda, and I have never met Albertine, but I feel I am beginning to understand a bit of where Brooke’s heart was when she wrote this. I have met so many Albertines whose stories need to be told and whose lives are shaping mine.
Although the dust and the dirt may be off my feet; the people, the faces, the moments, and the stories are still very much alive. And it’s true, now that I have seen, I am responsible. Faith without deeds is dead (James 2:14-25). Jesus calls us to be his hands and feet to those he puts around us. He calls us to stand up for the poor and the suffering, for the orphans and the widows. He calls us to speak for those whose voice cannot be heard.
We all are called to reach out. We are all called to make a difference. We are all called to stand up for injustice and to address the needs of others. This looks different for me, than it does for you. But, I am responsible for what I have seen, for what I have learned. And without action, my faith means nothing.