Friday, May 20, 2016

Hell's Gate

Hell's Gate
The year was 2008 and I was in Jeremie', Haiti. I was clinging to the back of a Toyota pick up as we traveled through the dirt roads on our way back to the airport. We had been here for two weeks and I was ready to go home. I had a bandanna wrapped around my hand that was now bleeding and stinging from the dirt and sweat pouring into the wound because I was gripping the metal on the truck's rack too hard so I could keep a hand free to shoot with my DSLR.

I had shots of the bazaar, insect covered meat being sold, UN soldiers with their 13 year old sex slaves, crowded and dirty streets that smelled of sewage. Streets of crumbling shanty's with rusted tin roofs. This was the poverty I had seen. This is the result of our gift of freedom when we helped overthrow a dictator. 

These were not the shots that the missions group I was with would show. No, we had smiling children in churches, white people playing with the local children, fat white suburbanites painting churches. Lush gardens, and other things to make you go awww, but still get the sense that they might be poor and we are helping. 

My eyes stung from the dust, my nose was used to the stench of sewage and death and I picked up enough french to know that we were not the white messiahs when we were outside the controlled missions we were worshiped in. 

The gateway to heaven is through hell if you really want to change things. Hell's gate is the road to paradise. 

An alcoholic never gets better until he faces the hell he is in and starts to make it better. 

An abused wife has to sit there nursing her broken ribs and say to herself, no more. 

A lifelong codependent can never be an autonomous person until they admit that they are in a cycle and can be controlled and manipulated and not only decide no more, but do research and seek help. 

An infant can never receive comfort, food or a clean diaper without first screaming their need. 

A nation can never improve until those who claim to aid it show the real problems. 

The path to heaven starts at hell's gate. It is at hell's gate that you not only realize you are in hell, but it is time to leave. To take that hard road to health, wellness, or safety requires the admission that you are in hell. 

No one wants to admit they live in hell. No one wants to admit they are abused, neglected, an addict, depressed, helpless or whatever else they are hiding. Like the missions group, they will show the pretty pictures on social media, smile to their friends and say they are fine when what they need to say is,"I feel like I am dying and I am fucked up." When we admit it to another, we face our own reality. But that is where the beauty starts. That is when we fight to get out and get up and shine. 

You wanna get to Heaven, Paradise, Nirvana, Valhalla or just a better place? The road starts in one place:

Hell's Gate. 

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