I had a moment today. A moment in which I absolutely, positively lost it. It was hot today, more so then what is normal during this rainy season. I kept sweating and itching. And I was wearing a nice dress, for a change. Everyone was staring. At first, it’s just funny. But after weeks, I just want to give them the show they’re looking for.
But I restrain myself, thank goodness. [Let’s just be clear though—I could totally entertain them.] While “mom” was picking the veggies out at the market, I took a photo of the police officer and he wasn’t too happy about it, to say the least. I felt even more like a piece of meat as he tried to force us into giving him a bribe to leave us alone. The corruption is overwhelming. A few days ago, I talked about eating the cow in a Hindi home [they don’t eat the cow here; they worship it]. Sometimes, I have no filter.
When we drove home, there was a woman with her face covered in black lines. I asked why and mom explained to me. Many years ago when the British took over this region, the white men would rape the young girls. Desperate for a way out, the women decided if they could make themselves look uglier, perhaps the men would no longer desire them. Thus, they tattooed (probably in an incredibly painful method) black lines across their entire faces and heads. Mom explains that the women in their 60s and 70s with the lines, are the ones that didn’t get raped. And the ones without the lines, well they weren’t as fortunate, she tells me.
The topic changes but my mind remains fixed on the woman covered in black lines.
We ride back into town and get caught in the parade. We are stuck and the car is turned off and the sweat is—well, it’s everywhere. The police make me feel self-conscious and the people around the car are captivated by our white skin, as usual. I feel suddenly as though I am in a cage to be sold, a commodity and I remember the woman with the lines and my mind says jump out the back and run. Then mom says, “Let’s play a game,” offering up a deck of cards in her hand. I laugh?
Then the cart comes. Twenty or thirty grown men at least, pulling and pushing this huge float with men standing atop, even a little boy. They are worshipping the idol and I see it all fading so fast. All men will fall to hell or their faces and only God will remain lifted high. Thousands line this one little street in the middle of no where India all to worship these men on this cart and in light of how it all ends, well, I just don’t know what to do with the weight of it all.
It’s afternoon and I cannot name a place on my body where there is not some sort of bump that itches. Like a funny joke, they all start up at once. Kids are everywhere as it is a day off of school [and their energy levels seem to expand the closer we get to bedtime] and our lunch company lingers well into the evening. There are to-do lists everywhere, some correction of the ones I have completed, adding to those too and I feel the room getting hotter. There is no rest and I am feeling suffocated. The kids get louder and most of what I know is back with the mascara that I must have forgotten alongside the bathroom sink.
I jump up in the middle of conversation and run upstairs at which point all the building up floods out onto the pillow now lending support to my head. It’s too much, I decide. There is no way I can do this every single day, after day after day after day. I plead with the Lord because I love the people, I really, really love them. I splash cool water on my face and breathe in and out. I smile to the mirror because I am learning joy that so far exceeds my feelings and I don’t know how else to remember. And the trials, those too, I am learning to count as joy. There is a steadfastness lacking in the ever-wondering of my heart and I desire to see it come while the eternal wait continues.
And here, I find it because God meets me in this place of the itchy, sweaty, unorganized and underprivileged land they call India, the same one which God is teaching me to love outside of myself.
I go downstairs and we leave to visit several homes. I look into the eyes of these brothers and sisters filling my cup and stomach, and of myself I am seeping onto the couch beneath me. I am a selfish brat most days here, and it builds up. Until the holy spirit at His finest breathes the body to life right in front of my eyes and there is no denying His work in this place and the yearning He is growing inside of me to be apart of it.
They are my family, these ones sitting around me and that is undeniable in spite of me, myself and I.
We pray for them and my life verse is plastered on the wall across from the couch where I sit, duh. Well, of course it is? I think to myself. “His power is made perfect in thee.” The translation, I have no clue, but He is reminding me to boast in these weaknesses that His power might be magnified in my weakness and so I write to boast tonight.
I have no words as I see the itching, lizards, and to-do lists fade so quickly in light of the glory of Christ and his spirit at work in these people and this place. This is real, you know?
It’s the eternal that sheds light on what is fading. And truly, I do not think lizards will be an issue when every knee bows and every tongue confesses.
Who’s Kingdom are you yearning for, my daughter? Whose are you furthering?
Mine is here and to come. Open your eyes to see beyond yourself and see my bride preparing, glorious and longing for hope too.
We leave one week from today [for the city] and the thought is painful already. We are both wrestling today, with the Lord and this place is changing us in ways neither of us saw coming. They expect us back here, and soon. Please join us in praying for us to know what the next step is, and for deeper focus on relationship in our final week here.
A girls night is in the works for Sunday. Pray for that too.
By lizards and His glorious grace,