I watched two men sitting outside the restaurant I like to go for breakfast. Their arms, hands and fingers waved fluidly in sign language to one another. Between them I noticed the stray dog who lives just beyond the restaurant door. He’s a healthy weight. He has learned to make his way on these streets and is most often sleeping contentedly when I see him each morning. On this day he sat with his nose between the men’s hips, happily eating from a plastic container his friends gave him. The silent feeding the silent.
Twenty minutes later, I watched from my table as the wheat-colored mutt rolled in the grass, the universal language of dog joy.
I bought a lamp and we found a hardware store (please delete any images of an ACE from your mind and replace it with a room the size of a walk-in closet. Fill the walls with light bulbs packed in dusty boxes.) where we hustled up tight behind those in front of us at the counter. We’ve learned that packing in close is required.
Later at the pharmacy, we employed the same tactic. The twenty-something girl wearing a kurta next to me smelled of sweat and heat, and I smiled because I smelled of sweat and heat, too. We had walked the same sidewalks in the same sun that day. You and me both, sister, I thought as I waited for the chemist to find Benson some decongestant from the thousand tiny drawers lining the shop.
Most things are up, but yesterday I had my first cry (such a blessing seeing that I cried seven days straight on our first trip here!). The day hadn’t gone how I’d expected and I craved my girlfriends in the States. The night ended on a good note though. After dinner Benson asked if I wanted to look out our window. We turned the lights out, sat on floor cushions and watched Mumbai move through the night, our very own big screen TV.
Clinging to Christ looks different on this side of the world and I find myself turning to pages of my Bible that I’d once only studied with a “just in case” mindset. Now is the case.
I had my second cry this afternoon, but it happened while I was chopping peppers and singing along with the Psalms. Tears of gratitude and hope.
Here are some scenes from week 2.
So there are glimpses of grace and there are feelings of triumph and there are hard days. And there is God sustaining us through all of it. Now, I’m off to peel mangoes, because they’re in season and you haven’t truly lived until you’ve eaten one of those fresh off the broken down rickshaw in the middle of Mumbai, India.