Monday, October 8, 2012

from India to Ohio

Heft.  Clunk.  Heft.  Clunk.  Heft.  Clu-clunk!  Four flights of stairs with one heavy suitcase.  I was in India, and the taxi driver had just dropped us off at our team leader's flat.  Beth reached for her key and swung back the metal grate.  We rounded the corner, and four faces met us.  Teammates who had already arrived.  I scanned faces, and hers met me with a wide smile.  She had an eagerness and a joy that reached out to me, welcomed me.  I hoped that she would be my roommate.  I sent an earnest telepathy to Beth.  "Please, please, put me with Sheila."

Sheila did become my roommate.  We moved into the spare room of a older couple's house.  They were kind of crazy, and life in Kolkata was sink or swim, so we grabbed each other and hung on tight.  After full days in the city, we would lie on our bed and process everything.  Sheila had brought an iPod, and I had not, so she gave me an earbud and kept one herself.  We fell asleep listening to the playlists her brother had made for her.  We woke up and ate the Indian breakfasts our Aunty made, and when I could not eat one more greasy puri, Sheila went to bat for me and swiped it when Aunty wasn't looking.

Boys, food we missed in America, college stories, friends at home, questions, heartaches, theology, good books...nothing remained untouched, and we grew so close in four months that I knew I had a heart friend for life.

Fast forward five years, and we are in beautiful Amish Ohio.  Perhaps the farthest cry there is from the heart of Kolkata.  Sheila is getting married.  The boy's name had bounced around those peeling walls of our room in India, and neither of us thought she would end up here, becoming his wife.  But oh how good our God is, and how patiently He leads us, to ends we never would have chosen but which become our deep joy.

I love you so much, Sheila.  Thank you for your friendship, given unconditionally, even in the darkest season of my life.  Your loyalty, faithfulness, and wisdom were buoys to me.  You are a beautiful woman, my friend, and I have no doubt that you and Joel, together, will shake the world in all the best ways.  

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