Every trip to India, something different is revealed to me. Maybe something I didn’t know about myself. Maybe something I didn’t know about God. Emotions vary, strength comes where it didn’t before. It’s never something I can anticipate, or for which I can prepare. I have to just go, and trust that He’ll take it from there.
I remember the first time I traveled to South Africa. It was 1998, and I was terrified. I didn’t want to leave the house, and would have been perfectly content eating cheese and crackers on the deck for 10 days. I was forced to walk through the townships and to see… see things I’d never seen before. Poverty on a grand scale. The remaining injustice’s in the aftermath of apartheid. No water. No electricity. So many of the same things I see in India now. Only I was relatively unaffected. The only thing I remember being a shock to me was that I was considered to be in an inter-racial relationship (something that had never crossed my mind), and only four years prior, that would have been illegal. I couldn’t see past myself.
Your guess is as good as mine.
My lack of emotion was displayed in my lack of action in South Africa. I didn’t do anything because I just wasn’t feelin’ it. I was unaffected, and therefore, ineffective I lived that way for a long time. Emotion = action. No emotion must mean it wasn’t important enough to do something about. I’m not proud of that. I had a whole lot more fear than faith back then.
I don’t feel that way anymore. Thank you GOD! Because I can’t live in a constant state of devastation and be useful. I was a mess, I mean, a MESS my first two trips in India. My heart was broken into pieces I never thought I could gather together, and I slipped scarily close to the edge of a depression that would have required professional help had it gone much further. The reverse had happened, but the result was the same. I was SO affected, fueled by emotion, that I was again, ineffective. Yet now, almost four years in, He has given me the ability to hold it together every once in awhile. To be able to speak without hyperventilating. To work with an urgency that can only be described as God fueled.
Now, according to my friend Mike of Wells for Life, this changes from trip to trip, and you could find me once again at Christmastime, sitting outside the mall, tears running down my face, physically unable to enter. Coming home, waving my arms and shouting “Christmas is canceled! Christmas is canceled!”
But today, I am resting in His grace. Believing in His promises. Amazed by His love for all people, and how He moves us to act on behalf of His children. Regardless of how we feel.