So many scenes packed into one place. A young girl on the side of the road (everything is on the side of the road) in nothing but underwear, dipping water from a bucket to clean herself in front of the fort-like dwelling she calls home. A man dozing on a torn piece of cardboard, a boy of maybe four atop him, attempting to rouse the sleeper. A chicken bone hidden in the crate of bananas I rummage through during my thrice weekly fruit shopping. An elaborate, too-spicy-for-me Indian meal we ordered in sign language by following the hand drawings on the menu, served graciously by deaf waiters. A spry man chopping limbs with a machete from his perch high in a tree, Benson and I watching from below, willing him not to mistakenly chop his bare feet in the process.
More scenes. Spiritual warfare coming to life before my eyes: the sword of the Word zooming across a table while the enemy’s arrows shoot, looking for a place to land. Me: shaken, awestruck, saddened, encouraged, torn, emboldened, joyful in the aftermath of battle having seen the hand of God move. Boiling milk on the stovetop of a worth-her-weight-in-gold Indian friend; she pours my coffee and we pray straight from scripture because we know it is more intelligent than our hearts. The speeding ceiling fan swishing air around me and Benson as we chew noodles in the apartment of a young married couple. Benson pulling me aside in church; he notices two men deep in conversation and wants to pray for the words spoken right there on the spot, and I fall in love with my husband for the thousandth time.
I find no narrative for life here because it’s everything: hard, eye opening, rich, raw, dirty, luxurious.
For our marriage it has been only a blessing. There’s no garage downstairs filled with brewing equipment for Benson to tinker with. No built-in commitments to occupy my mind when we are together. No instant circle of neighbors and friends and passersby to fill our evenings. Instead, we’ve found ourselves with hundreds of minutes every week with only each other. I’m learning nuances of how to converse with the man I married that I wish I’d learned sixteen years ago. God is graciously providing a growth spurt, yet I’ve been in this long enough to know I need to continue to pray.
And once again, there is no cohesive beginning and end to this post. Instead, scenes that don’t jive. A life comprised of highs and lows, slow spots triggering perseverance, jolting sights giving birth to questions I don’t know if I’ll ever have answers for this side of heaven. I have feet in so many places—American friendships I access with technology for which I thank God, a lovely Mumbai apartment that affords me views of which I have yet to grow weary, expat circles that remind me that there are so many others walking these same foreign streets, Indian families who remind me of my purpose and draw me closer still to a God who transcends culture, busy restaurants serving me chickpeas and sauces, grimy roadside stands selling me mangoes (they’re still in season), vacations on the calendar in lands I’ve never visited, acres I long for close to my brother someday, eternity with the one true God who is the Beginning and End.
And now, literal scenes from the week…
I bought Benson a robe. It is now his most prized possession:
Can you find the chicken bone?
My dinner most Tuesday nights:
A wall constructed partially of garbage which stretched further than I wanted it to:
Roadside plant nursery:
Attending a couples’ bible study, loving on our favorite Indian: