India Chronicles, Part I

It's been four days since I did laundry or cooked a meal or cleaned anything, and I feel a bit useless. They won't even let me chop cabbage for dinner, so I sit and watch. Three meals a day pop-up without me lifting a finger, plus several tea-times, and someone called me madame.

I'm being served. My skin crawls a little.

The ferry

the ferry flags

We've traveled 49 hours in cars, planes, shuttle buses, taxis and a ferry, and I suppose I don't look like I can handle much more. It's grace that the women's meeting has been postponed, but I've lost my identity for the moment. 

What's a woman to do when there' s nothing for her to do? Because doing is big-time important, right?

I bring water bottles to Tim and David and try to return the tea tray to the kitchen as often as I can. Something.

I pray.

I wash some clothes in a bucket and hang them to soak in the humid air

I listen to stories and take down notes in ink and synapse, wrap-up whole life stories all neat and tidy.

I prepare notes and scratch out irrelevant epiphanies, write down new ones, scratch them out. I finally decide that all that kind of preparing is done, and now is a different time.

Time to absorb.

faithful disciples studying the Word

There are pastors who've walked 2 days from the Burmese border to get here, and they have questions like:

"What do I do with the drunkards in my church who want to quit drinking, but can't?" 

"What do I do with pastors I oversee who have to grow and sell opium to survive?"

"What do I do with the man who has two wives?"

Those are just the stories and questions I catch through translation.

I'm in the middle of not being too dramatic, and not being dramatic enough. I fear drama so I swing hard towards stoicism, cynicism even. These are the processes that get me to the place that God wants, and it's good that I'm not teaching for a few days.

My heart's a little bit of a mess.

Saturday, June 15th, we celebrate our 17th anniversary. I'm truly happy, in my sweat-soaked dress and swollen feet, to do hard things with this gift-of-a-man the Lord has blessed me with. I watch him give guitar lessons under a jack-fruit tree and I'm smitten all over again, with him and with the God Who orchestrates all this.

guitar lessons

I find two notes from my Shelby in a book and a pocket. That girl gets me from across the ocean and I smile and tuck the notes away.

Sunday morning, Father's Day, Tim teaches at church.  In typical Indian fashion I learn that I'll be sharing with a home fellowship that evening, so I spend the day preparing. I'm not a spur-of-the-moment kinda gal, but I've come to expect that everything is subject to change here and to always have something ready. You know - walk in the Spirit.

After days of stifling and suffocating heat, the sky splits open that morning and it rains like all the metaphors you've ever heard: cats and dogs, sheets, buckets. It's great relief to this Oregon-girl. I sit on the porch and flop open my Bible in true Holy-Spirit-turn-the-page fashion, and land on Hosea 6:3.

 Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

He makes good on His word and comes to me in torrents. 

Goose doing the happy rain dance

In the weeks before this trip I had handed over my joy and taken dread in exchange, but the Lord opened my eyes to redeem the time and now, half a world away from some of the dearest people in my life, He pours out rain on the parched places in me. 

He was putting me in a place of receiving when I thought I was always supposed to give - that my only worth was in giving. 

When your only worth is in giving but your joy is in receiving, there's a real conflict. 

But the rain waters the earth and the earth yields its abundance and we all open hands and close around His gifts, pass them on, opening and closing like a bucket brigade of blessings. 

Exactly as it should be.

 

{This post is pulled from my journal and other bits of paper I scribbled on during our 3 week trip to India in June. I'll be sharing more, hoping to light some fires and keep mine going.}

Click to read:

India Chronicles, Part I

India Chronicles, Part II

India Chronicles, Part III

 

Linking up with HeatherGrace Laced Mondays, The Mom Initiative, Soli Deo Gloria,Titus 2sdays,MercyInkThe Wellspring, and  #TellHisStory

 

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