Missouri must be extra frigid this season. Despite the Rather-Plain-But-Incredibly-Practical-Brown-Sweater, I was shivering in the kitchen by mid-morning. Hopping up and down next to the tea kettle as I waited for it to whistle. My mother came to the rescue with one of her sweaters, a gray woolen wrap-around that she tossed over to my stove-top post. "Here, put this on," she said. Brilliant. Another sweater. Why don't I think of these things?
The layers keep growing. On top of my two sweaters, I am now draped with the most beautiful blanket I own. It's one that my friends at Sari Bari made. Five layers of old saris; the outer two layers are shades of my new favorite colors, deep red and golden yellow. I smell the blanket, and it still smells like Indian laundry detergent. Smell it again.
India is like a old friend I never see anymore but cannot forget. Across the bridges between high school and college and post-grad life, I've said good-bye to my share of dear friends. For weeks and months after the official goodbyes, faces bounce through my memories and prayers. Often. Daily, even.
Only two and half weeks gone since I flew from breeze and coconut trees to snow and ice. At this point, I still think of India every day. I am scared that India will stop popping up with such frequency. My friend who spent a year in Africa warns me of this. "It hurts to remember," she wrote to me. "But it hurts even more when you stop remembering." I carry that fear of India evaporating off of me, disappearing. That I will set her in a hall closet somewhere, behind the vacuum and the box of clothes to give away to Goodwill, and forget where I put her. Maybe even forget she exists.
I'm trying to remember. I pull the sari blanket around me tightly. I read the blogs of my teammates. I play Boggle with my family, a word game my team played every Sunday afternoon. Sand slides through the game's timer, and I almost write down words like "shey" or "ghat" before I remember that they are Bengali words, and as such, will not garner points here in America.
The little things remind me of the big things. Of God and His Kingdom. Of the garden He is still planting and tending in Kolkata. Of my friends who choose every day to stick around in that city a little longer, to pour out a bit more water.
I am glad and thankful to be home. There is, however, a tension in my heart that was not there four months ago. A pull toward the face that is yet vivid and bold in memory's cupboard.
I ask you to remember India with me. Help me remember when I am beginning to forget. To keep praying, to keep hoping, to keep offering up our lives for the work which is not finished.
I also want to share some moments of home...
Boggle time! Kristin, please note that we do not have Super Boggle. Sad loss. But, also please note that I am training my niece up right. Starting her on Boggle at a young age.
Right now, she likes to eat the pen and paper best. I think, though, that she will begin finding words very soon. She's a bright baby.
I had the awesome gift of spending last weekend with my best college friends. I couldn't have hoped for a better reunion. Laughing and talking and singing commenced as if we'd never been apart. Oh, how I love these three girls.
Happy New Year to all!