...and it fell on me today.
Flip-flopping down the four flights of stairs from Beth's flat today, my heart so full, a string of chuckles lined up at the back of my throat, almost skipping down the stairs two at a time. One of those moments when I feel 10 again, my hair in braided pigtails, back when I could run faster than Peter and sit on him, strong enough to keep him pinned to the floor. Not that I ever did that.
On those stairs, I wished that I could teleport every one of you here to see this. There is only so much canvas these words can paint, and there are full-frescoed ceilings and walls to describe. A thousand little colorful and vibrant threads that are the tapestry of my life right now, and I want you to see them up close, to see how glittery and dazzly some of them are, to notice the rich tones of others, to run your fingers across the texture.
That's the pretty metaphor. But the one I really want to use is that my thoughts are a rink of bumper cars--I have so much to tell you, but my thoughts keep ramming into each other, and to try to get all the cars to fall into a nice, orderly track is, of course, impossible. My mind is jammed tonight, and I wish I could spill my stories out before you, and you'd watch them hit the floor and instantly understand. :)
As they say in Indian restaurants when what you've ordered can't be produced, "Not possible."
Here's the alternative. A list of the bumper cars, the thoughts. Just a list. In no particular order.
-Worshipping with my team, Jesus among us, remembering how beautiful it is when brothers dwell together in unity
-Praying Psalm 91 over each of the WMF staff
-The power going off in the middle of the Indian cricket World Cup
-Tea time at Sishu with the famed "Mother Teresa" biscuits--where do they get those biscuits?--and talking to girls from all over the world: Spain, Wales, Canada, Japan
-Cold showers with one big blue bucket and one small red bucket
-Standing on a crowded bus or the Metro--the soundtrack for these rides is Sesame Street's "One of these things is not like the other"--and I am the "not like" thing
-The banana/gingerbread/teddy bear sheet on our bed
-Finding a half-eaten potato behind the bed and resignedly sighing, "the rat."
-A tiny and wrinkled woman squatting on the red-brick corner who will say "Namastay" to you if you give her change and even if you do not
-Hugging three children at once while another climbs on my back
-Riding in an auto-rickshaw next to a smiley, plump lady who tries to talk to me in Bangla--and me trying to talk back
-The panicky feeling I have when I think I've lost my wallet--again--ten-times-a-day-again.
-Dinners of whole fish--Aunty telling us to chew up the head and then spit it out--"So much nice juice, no?"
-Washing my clothes on a concrete slab
There. A list-skeleton of India life. Please fill free to imagine in all the remaining gaps.
Do you ever feel like beauty just finds you? Like you're simply living, marking off the calender squares, trying to be faithful, and then BAM, beauty or grace or wonder--or all three--come and kick-box your front door down and suddenly whatever film has been glazing your eyes is gone. "A thin place," the Celts termed it. A place where the great curtain between heaven and earth is a bit lighter, more transparent.
That was today.
As Beth reminded me via the Message translation of Psalm 23, "goodness and mercy are chasing you down." I need to be chased. I desperately need it. I have felt foggy lately. Distant from God and maybe from others, although no one here knows me well enough yet to perceive this frigidity of soul.
Today, though, I was standing by the front door when it fell in, and Grace came stepping over the frame. I looked up, wide-eyed and stunned. "I thought You'd forgotten where I lived, but I'm sure glad you remembered." God is faithful. Jesus is near. The Holy Spirit is present and powerful. All this and more Grace recounted to me, and my dry eyes moistened, my hard heard returned to a soft, doughy lump.
This is the giddy stair-jumping small-girl impulse.
This is the list of bumper-car thoughts, the realization of a full life, the following thankfulness.
This is the new set of eyes that see the makings of a splendid photograph in every shadowed corner and sunlit street.
This is the peace that I am not in charge of Kolkata, nor the world, nor the universe, but that there is one in charge--One who has not forgotten my name or what place I occupy in the planets He is holding.
May Grace come knocking at your doors today, my friends. He comes to say you are loved, you are not forgotten, and that you are sheltered in the shadow of the Almighty's wings.
Lastly, can I ask you all to be in prayer for myself, the team, and WMF staff during the month of October? October is the season of the biggest pujas (Hindu holidays). It's basically the equivelent of the American Christmas season. Frenzied shopping, decorations, parties and gatherings. But all of it is to honor Hindu gods, and so there is much happening in the spirit world. Pray the blood of Jesus over us, and that we would be wise and perceptive. Pray for Jesus' Name to pierce the darkness. Light. For light. So much light.
Such a long post. Phew. So much to say. Saving the rest for another day...