Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hello And Goodbye!

Our little village doesn't show up on any maps.  It doesn't even make the road sign off the main national road.  There's just an arrow pointing our direction, and the next big town, St. Jean, is listed as the next official destination.   But down that bumpy, tire-busting gravel road a few miles, every driver who's ever braved the route knows exactly where our little village, named after it's little river, can be found.  Ti Rivier, or Ti-Rivyè in the Kreyol, stands out above the rest.  How?

We have two giant, concrete pillars.  Beautiful, massive Ebenezers.  Stones of remembrance that shout out to the world, "You Are Here", even though 'Here' isn't listed anywhere officially.

Recently, my friend Patchouko was commissioned to repaint them.   He's not from here.  He's not a native to Ti Rivier.  But he's an amazing servant.  He immediately hired help.   He didn't want all the glory.  He wanted to give the village something beautiful.

 It took him and a co-worker, his former art teacher, days to work around the weather because of the rainy season.  I noticed a young boy with a pick-axe, chopping away at the layers of earth that had piled up around the bases.  Years of rains had worn the mountain down. When I asked Patchouko why he had the boy doing that, the answer was simple.   When you do a job, you do it right.  You don't come to paint a sign, and then just paint down to where the ground covers.  You move the earth.  You uncover and wash the stone, and you restore it to it's former beauty.  His work ethic on display.  No cutting corners.  No taking the easy road.

Every stroke was crafted.   Right down to the branches of each palm tree.  Right down to the yellow mangos in the trees and the fishermen on the waters.  Even the rise and fall of the hills surrounding the village was recorded artistically.   His attention to detail, and his imagination coming out for us all to see.

When they'd finished I drove by and noticed something that brought a smile.   My Haitian momma, Tikilene, had planted beautiful bushes and flowers around them.  They'd driven sticks into the ground and used old VHS-tape to act as a fence, letting everyone know to watch where they drive while the young plants take root.   She was beautifying the grounds.   Doing her part by using her green-thumb.  The people in my little village - I love them!  They have such a care.  Such a respect for their home.  A village that isn't even on the map, filled with a people so brimming with character.  

We stopped to admire the workmanship after they'd finished.  My kids took note,
"Why do none of the other villages have great big signs like ours?  Not even the city of Cayes has a sign painted as beautiful as ours!  Why is that?" they said.
I smiled, "It's because they don't have a Patchouko." 

Paul wrote one of my favorite verses in the Bible, speaking about how we are God's workmanship.  His masterpiece.  His work of art. I'm so glad He didn't cut corners. He didn't hastily finish the work. He purposed every stroke.  Even today, He continues to chip away the old dusty world when it creeps up about my feet like a lead weight, ready to swallow up this stone of remembrance, this testament to the Living God. When my paint gets tired and worn,  He restores me.  Makes me fresh.  Breathes new life. 
He uses bright and vibrant colors.  He exacts every detail, every hair on my head.  And why?  Because He cares. Because in the end, people won't see this concrete shell of a man.  Instead, I will bear His signature.  His name.  In the end, they will pass by me and say,  "Wow! He wasn't even on the map. Why did he shine like a star? Who did that?"
And someone will say,  "God did that."  

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