P.D.A; these three simple letters carry with them a lot of meaning. Physical Displays of Affection!
P.D.A has had its fair share of meanings for me over the years. As a child, it was those moments I would see in movies that made me blush. In middle school, it was something I only dreamed about…”oh to hold hands with a boy!” Highschool years, PDA filled the hallways and crowded my way to the lockers. With a few exceptions, PDA has carried with it quite a few negative connotations. However, Haiti has opened my eyes to a whole new world of PDA!
I have given and received more kisses in Haiti than all my 24 years combined! Okay, so that may be a slight exaggeration, but nevertheless there is some serious love being shared in this country. It is the cultural norm to greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, and once again at the close of your time together. Tuesday and Wednesday morning I work with 8+ ladies on a jewelry project from 9 – 12. This means 16+ kisses all before lunch time! That is quite a bit of puckering up. It is difficult to go anywhere in Haiti without seeing physical displays of affection.
Teenage girls, and often guys walk hand in hand or arm in arm to and from school. Older siblings regularly hold the hand of their younger sister or brother. Sweet friends sit and visit with arms resting on shoulders and relaxing. Adults openly share hugs and physical contact, no questions asked. I’ll admit, these U.S. eyes of mine have taken some time to adjust to this world of affection.
The portion of the U.S. I grew-up in frowned upon P.D.A. However, our time here in Haiti has allowed me to see these outward signs of affection are only an outward symbol of the deep relationships that exist in this country. A few months ago a dear sweet woman who has cooked for conferences at BHM for years experienced carbon monoxide poisoning, while she was sleeping and was rushed to the hospital.
The following morning I went to visit her and was shocked to notice every woman I had ever met in Haiti, and then some, standing outside her hospital room. Each of these ladies arrived to the hospital the moment they heard the news, and had no intention of leaving until their friend was restored. This was true friendship! These ladies were not visiting their friend because it was the “right thing to do,” but they were there because they could not imagine being anywhere else. This is one of countless examples of the deep rooted relationships I have been blessed to witness.
This precious woman is still struggling as a result of the carbon monoxide, but through it all her friends have remained by her side hand in hand, praying for her restoration.
“I want to be your hands, I want to be your feet, I’ll go where you send me…” – Audio Adrenaline
We are the hands and feet of Christ in this world. Let’s not overcomplicate this message, but instead be willing to use all of who we are to love those the Lord places in our path. It is more often than not, our body communicates far more than our words ever could. So many days it is easy for me to feel like an “outsider” here in a country different than my first, often all it takes is the simple greeting kiss or a quick hug to make all the difference in the world.
May we not allow our current views of PDA to stop us from reaching out to those the Lord blesses us to be with day by day. Share a smile, give a hug, place your arm around a friend, you never know whose day you can change by a simple touch.by