My Life In India
Reflection on the hardest week in India.
I have typed and retyped this, trying to get the words right. Feeling a little stupid for wanting to share. I am not the best at emotional vulnerability in a public forum, so please be patient and forgiving when reading this.
This past week was hollowing.
Was knee-scrapping and gut-punching and heart-wrenching. This week wave after wave after wave of pain and fear and loss and hurt and distress collapsed and collided and crashed against and over and around my friends and my organization.
My dear friend Brittany has been sick for some time, and it came to a head a few nights ago when we had to make an emergency trip to the hospital. Though she is better now, she had to have surgery in India. Any amount of time in an India hospital (even the best hospital) is degrading and dehumanizing. Also, having surgery halfway across the world from your family is simply and completely terrifying, at best.
We also lost a young woman in our care. A child of God I did not know well, but I have held her hand and looked into the sweetness of her eyes. A more-than friend, more-than student, more-than sister to my good friend Danielle and so many others who have and continue to serve here in India. There is no way to convey the inexpressible grief of losing a child. And I am so desperately sorry that my good friends have to know this pain.
Much more, too, has happened this week.
This week, small, daily and seemingly insignificant interactions have fallen heavy with callousness or complication. Everything has felt like a miscommunication, everything has sunk like a rock into these ragged, inclement, tempestuous, somewhat hateful waters, adding to their unceasing ebbing and rocking and knocking down. Nothing easy. Everything compounding and adding to the weight of what’s coming against us.
Yet, I have been nothing if not shielded from the sorrow and pain of this week. These hardships are not my own, but I have watched my friends take blow after blow of everything that is coming. And I am shielded. Each time they encounter the mess of it all, I have watched them stand back up. No matter the intensity of the blow, I look around and I marvel at their strength, at the incredible beauty of them in their responses. At their grace in their resurgence through the plum-dumb, too-hard crap they’re faced with.
Despite being shielded by it all, despite watching them in their strength and grace stand back up, I have felt nothing but weak and anxious and graceless.
I feel weak in my ability to help them.
I don’t know how to find the right words or what actions best lift them up, best give them support through grief and strife and fear.
I feel weak in my ability to serve my students.
I feel guilt and shame for every minute I miss with my girls. I feel guilt and shame for every minute when I don’t make the most of instruction. I feel guilt and shame when lessons fall flat. I feel guilt and shame when regression happens. I feel guilt and shame when I cannot provide enough for them, which is always. I am always not providing enough, a reality of orphan care—there is never enough.
I feel weak in my ability to hear God.
I am self-centered. I am funneling each occurrence through a system of how-do-I-feels and what-do-I-thinks, instead of turning in prayer to hear His voice, seek His comfort, emulate His heart. I feel static noise in my ears. Stupid things take precedence. Small things become priorities as they distract me to lethargic apathy in the face of stark radio silence. I am unmoved by the quietness in our communication.
I share all this to say: I have no answers for current trouble, for the trouble ahead.
All I have is a hope for victory in Jesus. A cliché phrase that is thrown around but rarely depended on. The flippant frequency and with which we toss around this phrase contradicts our faithlessness and despondence which both work to devoid it of its present-working power. Victory is eternal and now, not just a fairy-dust maybe-someday.
The urgency to seek His Kingdom, His righteousness feels alive in the midst of all that has happened.
I say all this because the beat-ups come. The shit days come. A clearer picture of injustice these kids face comes.
Despite it all, Jesus. That’s all I can say. Jesus and more than what I can imagine.
So what else can I conclude but Psalm 18 and Romans 8?
He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So, with all the residual strength I feel I have left, my heart and words are firm in the assurance of the truth that Jesus Christ is fierce and His love has restored my soul, even if all I can produce right now is a trembling whisper.
Thank you for reading, dear, sweet people.