Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Ache

My heart is aching from the absence of India. The past two weeks have been a time of wordless processing. It’s hard sometimes to find things to say or even things to think about regarding this time of my life that is now out there in the past, yet forever altering the way I think and choose to live for the rest of my life.

I’m finding my moments of grieving and gratitude and wonder. I’m starting to realize that it’s not India that I miss… not exactly. Life there was so raw, so throbbing, so stretching that it forced my heart to its knees every day. Daily time and tasks and relationships pulsed in such a way that reminded me hour by hour—I need him.

That need has not changed. It never will. But it’s so much easier within a Western environment to believe that is has, to fool myself into thinking I can stand on my own two feet and walk through a day alone. There are more distractions again. Electronics, air con, movies, restaurants. It’s not that I’m wanting for time, but the mental clutter can be a bit overwhelming, making it hard to settle back into his presence and just be. So although I love so many aspects of India—saris, bus rides, rice and curry, dirt floors—what I’m really pining for is simplicity. Even as I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Laos I’m listening to sounds of things making noise… clanking, clattering, thudding, dropping, scrapping. I think back to the slums where the only loud sounds were the voices of children hailing our arrival.

I think it’s the battle of the 21st century to learn to shut out the noise, to wade through the world of conveniences and comforts we have built for ourselves that turn into a prison of their own kind. It’s our task to confront electronics and shut them off, and when it’s not possible, to train the ears of our hearts to be listening moment by moment for the still small voices buried beneath the clatter. India will haunt me until I do. My heart will break if I don’t.

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