Thursday, July 29, 2010


I’m leaving for India in six short days. My heart has spent the majority of the past few weeks in either building excitement for finally getting on the plane or feeling overwhelmed at the size of my to-do list. It has surprised me how many more life details there are to arrange when you leave the country for 6 months instead of just 3 weeks. It probably didn’t help that I have also been trying to put together graduate school applications. Note to self: if possible to avoid in the future, do not try to apply to graduate school from overseas; it makes an already detailed, tedious process twice as stressful. However, the process is almost done. In six days I’ll be on a plane. It will no longer matter if I forgot to do something or didn’t pack something else into my suitcase. At that point it just won’t get done. I’ll deal. I love that moment.

I’m looking forward to India. It’s a season that is both completely defined and undefined. Everything else is my life has been set aside to focus on one thing, one place. But at the same time, I have no idea what India looks like, what my hands and feet will find to do and go. I’m not looking forward to any specific tasks…because I don’t know what they are. But I can tell you what I am looking forward to.

I’m looking forward to a culture based on relationships and just being together. Washing my underwear by hand in a bucket. Leaving pantyhose and high heels in my closet back home. Walking on some of the most dusty and dirty streets of the world and yet discovering more of what it means to be feminine. Wearing a sari. Relinquishing choice over what I eat. Touching the faces of children who have been told they are untouchable. Finding stories. Wearing my hair down my back in one long braid. Learning what it means to be Indian. Being shown what the church can look like outside of a neat Western box. Curry. Traffic jams. Sitting up on the roof. Sounding like a fool when I try to speak in Hindi.

I have this theory that no one is every really ready to move on from one season and find the next. At least I’m not. But the seasons come all the same. So I try to take them when they come, be in the moment as much as possible, leave goodbye till the last minute and then dive straight ahead. My heart hasn’t been dwelling in India all summer because I’ve still been here at home. But now, I’m almost ready. I can feel my heart starting to pulse with the unknown rhythm of India. I’m bracing for the goodbye. And it’s time… just about. To step on the plane. To land in a foreign world. To discover another whole way to live.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Passing Judgment

I haven’t written in a long time. And I don’t just mean here on this blog. I haven’t written at all. It’s been almost two months since graduation and there hasn’t been a single story, a single paragraph, sentence, or phrase.

Writing is one of the biggest ways I find myself. Finding things to say let’s me know I’m still alive, that I’m still breathing and feeling, listening and watching.

I haven’t been able to write this summer because I’ve lost a huge part of myself. Pieces of my heart have been locked away, hiding, scared to come out. So there have been no words. And no tears. How does one move back across the country, say goodbye to four years of life and relationships and not cry? I’ve waited for months to be able to cry.

It all started last fall. I found myself in a situation that was wrong. It was painful. It felt unsafe. It made my heart feel unwelcome. It wasn’t really my fault. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. And then there was no way out. I was stuck for the next eight months. At first I fought to keep my heart right, to find the truth in the haze of lies and cling to it. But it was hard. And no one was fighting with me. It became too easy to let my heart go.

So I decided to play God. Not consciously. But that’s what I did. I stepped into judgment. I started to criticize a man’s heart, his actions, his motives. I questioned his faith. I accepted the role of the victim and sided with Eve in the garden. God said look at your heart, and I passed the blame.

I say this now with such clarity, but it’s taken me weeks and months to pick it all out. But I know now that when I picked up that judgment it allowed something evil to come in and steal a piece of my heart. It’s easy to pass the blame, to see the wrong in someone else’s life instead of dealing with your own. And it’s true. They may very well be wrong. Painfully wrong. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still responsible for my own heart. And while it seems easier to pass the blame, it’s a lot harder to carry the grudge. My heart has been so heavy. For weeks I’ve asked myself why I’m so tired. It didn’t make sense. But as my heart grew heavier my body grew weaker.

I’m starting to find myself again. I know because of these words I’m writing. I wish I could say I had a heart full of glowing feelings towards this person I judged. I don’t. But I’m starting with a choice to forgive and trusting God to heal and bring my heart along in the process. I’m trusting that tomorrow when I get up, he’ll give me the strength to choose to forgive again. I’m trusting that the day after tomorrow he’ll help me pick another splinter out. All I know is I don’t have any more time to waste… and I miss having myself.