Friday, August 20, 2010

When the glamour fades...

Week one: everything is new, exciting, different.
Week two: routine beings. The glamour fades.

There are things about India that are wholly different from the States. There are things about India that feel so much like home that it takes me by surprise. Repetition is one.

When I was a student at Lee, there were so many days when I grew frustrated with living the same routine day by day. I stayed locked away in my room studying for long hours. Often I was tempted to question the purpose, to wonder if it all mattered in the grand scheme of things.

My heart is vain. It wants to do great things for reasons outside of myself, to be given opportunity to change lives and watch it happen. So I thought, I’ll go to India.

But India is not grand. The idea of India is grand, but on a practical level, what I face now is monotonous. Every day we go to the slums and do just about the same thing. Every day I am tempted to wonder, does it even make a difference that I am here?

I am finding—half a world away—that the problem is not with my surroundings or with my routine. The problem is with my heart.

So this week I am mucking through myself.

I face disappointment and father says, will you trust me? I fight feeling insignificant and he asks me to question whether my identity lies in my actions and my role or who he says I am. I do not see results and he counters, will you obey? I cry, this is not easy; he says, I never promised it would be.

In my weakness I find the pride and selfishness lurking in my heart. I want to love people on my own terms. I want to care for them if they respond a certain way. But someone else is telling me to love them because he loves them, not because they are loveable. Yes Father. I’m sorry. Teach me. This is my penitent cry—sometimes every five minutes.

I was reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer and he writes, “Who is pure in heart? Only those who have surrendered their hearts completely to [another] that he may reign in them alone. Only those whose hearts are undefiled by their own evil—and by their own virtues too. The pure in heart have a child-like simplicity like Adam before the fall, innocent alike of good and evil: their hearts are not ruled by conscience, but by the will of [another].”

I must be saved from my depravity, but I must also be saved from my good intentions, least they become idols and get in the way of my heart. I am so glad father is patient with this journey because sometimes I fear I tread so slowly.


Jessica said...

The most humbling thing I've ever come across in relation to service is from that little devotion book, My Utmost for His Highest. In one devotion Chambers talks about how being a servant is like being a doormat under people's feet, an unnoticed, unappreciated dust and dirt collector. He also advises against trying to dictate the scenery of our sacrifice. Reading this blog reminded me of that perspective.

metcalfacres said...

I am enjoying your thought provoking observations about mankind through the streets of India. Our culture would do well to stop and ponder longer.
it certainly isn't easy to serve on His agenda and not our own!