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  • John Ryan

Day 2: day of preparation in Port-au-Prince, thoughts on contentment

Updated: Mar 5, 2018

(Photo 1: Matthew 25 House, looking over the local soccer field where I worked with local community groups and foreign doctors in the days following the earthquake of 2010).

Friday, 16 February 2018

It is my first full day without seeing my little boy since I first held him. It is late here. The mosquitos in Port-au-Prince are unreal. How do I always forget that part? Dogs are barking, people in a nighttime church service are singing, Kompas music blares next door in the night. I have found through the years that I am not a city person.

I could lash out at the situation and noise with hatred and anger… but to what end? People often say that “righteous anger is ok,” or something like this. There may be some merit to that, but I don’t recommend it. From what I can remember, each action of mine, every word spurred from anger, I have regretted. If the outcomes turned in my favor, I have at least looked back desiring another approach.

The same thing has gone for my relationship with daily experiences. When I complain, I lose my ability to enjoy the gifts given to me, however hidden they may be.

I sit wearing the mosquito repellent shirt my dad gave me on my last trip to Haiti, and I am thankful for it.

I think about the books that have helped shape my approaches to life, my pursuit of a peace-filled and positive life. Crucial Conversations helped to change my approach to discussions, family, and many other aspects of life. Others include Mountains Beyond Mountains, 50 Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, Man’s search for Meaning, and Blue Like Jazz. I have grown a lot through the years.

I think of all the lessons I have learned, the most important I have found (and routinely failed at of course) is to do all things in love. I hope to show that to my son. All else brings pain (for myself, or others, or both) and regret. On this voyage I am hoping to choose love on a daily basis.

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