Monday, September 24, 2007

the rain has come

Bus ride to Sishu Bavan: 4 rupees
Morning snack of biscuits at a corner dokan (store): 5 rupees
Stamps for a letter to America: 15 rupees
Lunch at Kentucky Fried Chicken: 70 rupees
Wading through a foot of water and laughing with new friends: priceless.

It's monsoon season in Kolkata. Until now, it hasn't rained more than one day in a row, but the last three days the heavens have opened up, and it doesn't look like they're going to shut anytime soon. My umbrella is feeling the force--one prong has already broken, and I'm afraid a total collapse is imminent. When it rains like this, the streets flood, and today I plunged through nearly a foot of water while walking to lunch. Really, it will probably be okay if my umbrella disentegrates, because I'm going to get wet no matter what. :)

We had a special treat of KFC for lunch today. KFC is in Kolkata. Weird, I know. Chicken strips have never tasted so good. My team met for lunch after volunteering at Mother Teresa's homes. I brought along five Canadian girls, and Sheila brought two guys from Indiana. It's so refreshing to meet new people, especially Christians, and we had a good time today talking about life and why we're in Kolkata and what comes afterwards. I miss JBU a lot right now. After being in India almost six weeks, I'm starting to realize that I'm not going back to college. Me: "Oh, you mean I'm not living in the eternal summer? This is life now?" Yup. Real post-college life. And not that I don't love this life; I do. But I'm caught between a longing for beloved past places and an excitement for the road yet unseen. Sound familiar to anyone?

So anyway. Hanging out with people today was a blessing. And if you can't get around the roads-turned-rivers, you might as well splash around in the water.

Saturday, I read the story of the woman who breaks her alabaster jar in front of Jesus. Jesus is at the home of Simon the leper, and He is reclining at the table. This woman comes to Jesus with perfume so expensive that all who are gathered at Simon's house are aghast at what she does with it: she takes the jar and breaks it, spreading the perfume all over Jesus. Pours it all out, right there. A year's worth of wages, the footnote in my Bible says, 365 days of salary all spilled over Jesus' head. The crowd is appalled. "The money could have been given to the poor," they rage. Jesus says this: "Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me."

I think that sometimes, I am the voice of the onlooker. Here's why. I want to replace costly discipleship with a giving that I can control. When I give to the poor, I feel like I'm "doing" something. When I give out of my pocketbook, I can manage the loss. But handing my whole entire life over to Christ? That's a surrender that I'm no longer in control of. Breaking the flask at His feet is a radical and extravagant move. It puts me so close to Him, in such an intimate position.

I want to break the flask.
No more guises of compassion and concern, maintained to appease a guilty conscience.
Jesus, teach me to love You recklessly.

Jesus, may our lives be "beautiful things" to You.


  1. "I'm caught between a longing for beloved past places and an excitement for the road yet unseen. Sound familiar to anyone?"

    Heck yes it sounds familiar. I keep finding myself daydreaming about familiar, comfortable things: seeing my family and friends again, sailing with my Dad, having a car, playing my guitar...the list goes on. But it's true that there is something unbelievably awesome about having the road ahead go around the bend and be out of sight. Perhaps that's a beautiful place to be, caught between the delightful reality of the known and the unrevealed glory of the unknown.

  2. Ohhhh, dear Lara: How wonderful to read your experiences and heart. I'm just imagining what the taste of chicken strips must mean to you in the middle of India!

    My prayer for you today... 2 Thess. 3:5 "May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ." It is only in light of His steadfastness that our "Alabaster box" can be poured out...all in Light of His Love.

    I love and miss you much! Thinking of you as I drink my hot tea...

  3. Thanks for your challenge to be the jar breaker dear sis. Please pray for me to do this, to grasp this in much more comfortable places than India. I am praying for you in all the turmoil and struggle and pain you are surrounded with; please pray for me in the comfort and normalcy. It is hard to decide which is scarier sometimes. So easy here to miss the world rearranging you speak of that Christ wants to do in our inmost beings. Harder there too in many ways, I know. I will not forget. I love you and can't wait to see you at Christmas.