Monday, November 8, 2010

Common Strands

When you stay long enough in one place, no matter how foreign the country when you arrive, life happens. Coming and visiting for only a week or two or three, everything remains strange and new. Your senses and mind are constantly stimulated. But the longer I stay in India, the more I wear familiar tracks through the culture, the more the commonness of the human heart begins to show through. Underneath the food, the clothes, methods of bathing, wearing hair, or washing laundry, I find we are more same than different.

Mothers worry about their children. Children need to be kept from shirking their homework or being disrespectful. Money needs to be spent wisely. Neighbors enjoy chatting and sharing life, their children running the neighborhood streets in their play. Students feel insecure about presenting their work. Parents smile proudly and take pictures of their children’s performances. Those who are popular ostracize those who are less. Any form of organized religion struggles with bureaucracy. People try to use guilt as a motivational tool. Hearts grumble at what they consider an inconvenience.

No matter where we come from, we all have reasons to laugh, reasons to cry. We all struggle with fears, insecurities. We can all choose to be discontent or grateful. We all feel the pain of losing a loved one. We all dream, have things we want out of life. And whether we know it or not, we all have a need for God. Essentially, we are all human.

There are moments I forget that I am in India. Tonight I was at a children’s program that could’ve happened in America… almost. But the differences are becoming so familiar I only barely notice. Ironically, it is usually when I see another foreigner with white skin that I am reminded the rich brown tones of skin surrounding me are not the ‘normal’ I was born seeing. It makes me wish I could lie out in the sun long enough that my skin would also retain such warmth and color.

The sameness of human needs presses me to remember the steadfast presence of my God. As I look towards leaving India in only four short weeks, I can only find comfort in reminding myself that there is nothing about Indian culture that can make the sweetness of God’s presence in my life any more or any less. He will be the same wherever my feet are lead to journey, whatever season he carries me towards. As long as there are human hearts there will always be needs. There will always be life pressing forward. The only thing to keep me from finding it will be myself if I allow my heart to grumble.


Husker6 said...

Exactly what He wants each of us to realize.... your final four weeks will be the icing on the cake.

ChefEric said...

Loved the post and I am so looking forward for that time in 4 short weeks. I think if I start practicing my puppy dog face now I might just get it good enough for me to beg and plead for you to run a needle over a thing or two for me.

I just wanted to say that I would love to help you get ready and get used to the same new different over here. I think that we can do you a service in tweaking your expectations in anticipation. Maybe Amy has already jumped on top of this but if and when you get the energy or time to ask some questions in an email I think that Chance and Amy and I would love to answer some for you and I think it would serve the purpose for which we cam, just an idea.


Danielle said...

You can put away the puppy dog face. Yes I will run a needle through a few of your things (within reason of course :). Amy and I haven't talked too much about the culture adjustment yet. Right now, I can barely manage handling leaving this one let alone starting another. I'm counting on at least a few similarities to anchor me. So yes, let's chat sometime soon. I'll be living back on campus and near internet more often by the beginning of next week.