When I was 13 years old, I was confirmed as a Lutheran and completely lost my religion from that point forward.
I would classify myself as a card carrying agnostic. I love the idea of Heaven, a higher power, and life after death, but …
Look, it’s always been hard for me to believe in the fact that there was someone in control of my destiny. Or, walked on water. Or, arouse from the dead. Or, an endless number of other highly illogical phenomenons.
That’s all to say, I’m not against faith or any belief, it’s just that I haven’t had enough substantial evidence to support its existence. Nor, have I had a moment, calling, desire or whatever other event that leads people to faith.
Until two weeks ago.
For 8 days, I was in Haiti, completely disconnected from everything that I’ve come to know and understand for the past 38 years of my life.
As a person. As a human … I’ve been broken.
I fell in love--more than once. With my team. With the people of Haiti. With the country. With the children. And, dare I say, with God.
Haiti took my heart and tore it apart and gave me just a small portion back. All I was able to do after my return was cry.
I cried on and off for three days and, while I desperately wanted to return to normal, I was afraid of losing the memories that were keeping me down.
Some of my time was spent in a place named Cite Soleil--the poorest region in the western hemisphere. Within just a three square mile radius, the area houses 300,000 residents.
The people of Cite Soleil have no access to clean water and make less than $1 per day. Many of the children are enslaved and abused. And, the region is controlled by gangs.
But … it’s beautiful. The people are beautiful. The purity is beautiful. The ingenuity, the love, the community … all of it is beautiful.
What struck me most though was their faith. Their unquestionable conviction and belief in a person that, by any reasonable person’s account, hasn’t extended them any grace.
As a witness, I couldn’t help but believe.
What does any of this have to do with success?
On my last night in Haiti, the founder of Healing Haiti, the organization that brought me on this journey, shared his story.
It was incredible.
This was a man that from the age of 15 was driven by success. Motivated by sales goals, luxury cars, exotic vacations and all of the other materialistic possessions we crave.
Sometime in his mid-40′s, he awoke to the realization that what he had was never going to be enough. He was always wanting more. But more wasn’t giving him what he needed. In spite of his success, his accomplishments, his possessions, he felt broke.
It was a doom that led him to selling his business and changing the course of his life. He became a giver.
Now in his 60′s, he confessed that the past nine years have been the best years of his life.
I was inspired.
I’ve written and read listicle after listicle of the secrets/habits to becoming successful. But, this was the one that hit me the most. It’s the one point that we all overlook.
Success isn’t about you.
This simple message was so abundantly clear to me while in Haiti. I’ve been following a misguided path.
I have no idea where I’ll end up from a faith perspective. My questions still remain the same, but I’ve been touched by something greater than me. I’m broken, unclear and inspired.
Thank you, Haiti. My heart is yours.