Monday, September 3, 2007

graces and pains

I'm on my way to meet some friends for lunch, so this post might have to be a quickie. But here are a few thoughts.

Some everyday graces for which I am so thankful:
-ceiling fans
-cold showers
-Sheila, my roommate, who will process life with me and laugh at dumb jokes
-still lice-free after three weeks
-cha (tea)
-the rainbow of color India displays in its clothing, buildings, and foods
-my Sishu kids
-believing in the power of love a little more each morning
-my Bengali nightgown (it's so cool-looking...and really comfy)
-patient Indians who will help me learn Bangla

Yesterday we went to the Assemblies of God church here in Kolkata. It was huge! I walked in, and my first feeling was one of shock. A very wealthy church catches one off guard here perhaps more than in the States. It felt like such an anomaly. As we began to worship, I was struggling. I couldn't get past all the pain that I've seen every day. How to worship in the midst of such suffering? And then, the Spirit spoke to my heart in quiet truth, and this is what I heard: the only answer for such great pain is great, great love. And our God is all love. More than we can conceive, fathom, imagine. He is beyond the word of "love," and beyond our definitions, for He is love. Is. Is. Is. His very state of being. Love.

Thank God for His continual renewal of my heart. But keep praying for this, because it is a battle to remember love and to not question its ultimate triumph. These streets make me feel like I am walking around Kolkata with a box of band-aids, unable to dress the gaping wounds that won't stop gushing blood. The other day Sheila and I were sitting outside the metro exit, and I looked up to see a skeleton moving toward us. I thought at first it was a man. Short hair, uncovered chest. But then I realized it was a woman. Here are some thoughts I scribbled after she shuffled past.

bleeding bundles of humanity
aching pieces of human flesh and marrow

one more face
one more picture of pain imprinted on my mind

a woman whose ribs protrude
a woman whose breasts are bare
a woman with short, cropped hair
a woman
an image of God
a poem of His writing
a picture of His painting
five feet of the dust of this earth
soil supposed to be a fertile garden
now a barren desert, a dried up well

how can i turn away?
yet what can i do?
sit on this metro stoop and cry
cry for a world that is not right
the sin that paints its stripes in defiant colors
across the drawing board of their lives

I pray every day to understand love and compassion more. I think the Lord is teaching me, but this learning hurts. Pray that my heart will be soft. And that I will rest in His love.

Thank you for your prayers, emails, comments. They mean so much. I love you.


  1. lara,
    your thoughts echo so many of my thoughts while i was in costa rica last year... know that i am praying for patience and grace as you struggle with many of life's toughest questions.

    kristen olson

  2. Lara,
    I am praying for you and this woman today. I love you. Love does triumph. Do not doubt it. We are fortunate enough to have both the last chapter of the book and the personal knowledge of the Great God who calls the shots. "After the last tear falls, there is love."

  3. oh my love. As you write you let me sit next to you on the sidewalk feeling everything you feel. What love Jesus extends to us. What love he extended to that precious woman. You are beautiful. i love you.