Reflections On India

I feel as if I am going to implode at any second.

I went to India for a month this summer for vacation.

I saw beautiful monuments like the Taj Mahal. I saw beautiful countryside in the north and the south. I ate delicious food. I met wonderful people.

I saw some not so good things. My heart hurt when I saw kids working in fields when they should have been in school. I was deeply disturbed to see families living in tents with no electricity or running water.

While I was there, I was praying, hoping, and waiting for a deep revelation about life. It never came.

While I was there, I was waiting for God “to come and get me”. (In order to fully understand and appreciate this statement, you needed to have been at a past leadership training on Sunday morning.) He didn’t come.

Then I came back to Seattle. I went from the mountain top to some deep valley.

Since I’ve been back, I’ve been a little down. In truth, I’ve been a lot down. I know, I know, saints of the highest God should never be down. Jeremiah lamented. I lament.

I’ve been asked by coworkers and friends for pictures and stories. I haven’t felt like sharing anything. In truth, I haven’t felt like engaging back into normal life. My only high point since being back in the U.S. was a trip to Los Angeles during Labor Day weekend. It would appear that the minute I enter work or church, I close in.

Since I’m one to fester, I’ve been thinking about how I feel. I haven’t taken any steps to stop feeling this way. I am just thinking about it. I’m wondering why do I feel this way? Is this normal?

When I was in India, I felt like I was a stranger in a strange land. Now that I’m home, I feel like I’m a stranger in a strange land.

Have I been traumatized by the trip? Perhaps. I can’t identify any particular “event” though.

I have been drawn to the story of Joseph. Is there a life lesson lurking in the story? I’ve been thinking and searching for parallels. Nothing.

It would appear that I’m having a hard time placing the person who returned from India in the life of the person who left for India.

When I was in India, I was the person with affluence. I never did adjust to that. When I was in India, it was best to not engage with women and children asking for money. A more direct translation would be it was better to ignore them. In my need to be seen, it was heartbreaking to not see people.

I kept thinking about justice. I kept thinking about grace. I kept thinking about mercy. Who am I that I was born in a developed country? Who am I that I was able to attend a university? Who am I that I have a decent job with a decent home?

For $160, I can pay for a child’s tuition, uniform, and text books in India. What will I do with this information?

If salvation is the Word becoming Flesh and dwelling among people, how does that happen?

How does one pass through feelings of inadequacy and self doubt and make an impact?

How does light shine through darkness? How does peace give rest? How does love give light?

When faced with great injustice and evil, what will I do?

When I was in India, I had questions without answers. Now, I have no answers. I only have more questions. Everything it seems is in direct contradiction. I think I’m okay with that.

“…How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer…”

Quote from The Two Towers.