I love India.
Last night, I had a one-on-one chat with someone about my trip to India, and it was really cool to sit down and re-reflect on some of the things I had experienced. I was asked if there was one picture that stands out in my head. I guess I hadn’t really thought about it but it was the beauty of the train station. That sounds really weird because it was pretty much the craziest place we went to.
But I see the craziness, I see the pain, I see the maimed crying for something better than this, I see poor women lying on the path, I see children begging for a better life, I smell human excrement, I see a building lit up on the outside to cover what’s crumbling on the inside.
But I see hope.
A few years ago, when I was studying at Laidlaw College, I wrote an essay on the Kingdom of God. Despite getting an A, I don’t think there was a true understanding of living within the tension of the Kingdom being here and the Kingdom being not yet. I talk about it all the time but there was a moment in India that it became incredibly real. Walking along the streets of Kolkata, I saw it’s ugliness and I saw the pain. Then meeting people who had come off the streets of Sonagachi, from lives of prostitution, seeking transformation; that made a decent dent in the walls of pain that my eyes couldn’t see through in that first instance. The smile of each woman at Freeset made all the difference. That was the moment I could say, “here is the Kingdom”.
I remember the train station and I see a place where people are whole, where children laugh and play, where women are chatting to each other about the week, where the building stands in tall magnificence, because someone made this and it was a work of art.
I keep telling people that when the Kingdom comes, Kolkata is going to be one of the most amazing places on earth. I’m filled with such hope for India and her people.
But it doesn’t stop there. I have huge hope that each young person that I journey with will find wholeness. I see what was intended for them, that shalomic wholeness. I see their pain and brokenness and I see things that could be. This makes me excited.
While there’s a desire to return to India and work with the people there, there’s an intense awareness that right now, this is my place and these are my people. My heart is fully present, but the possibilities are endless.
If you asked me what India taught me, it’s this…