Saturday, August 25, 2012

One year ago

One year ago today, I arrived in India for the first time. Though there has not yet been a second time, I believe there will be.

One year ago today, I arrived to a new place, feeling that I was arriving home. I was welcomed into my new family, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.  In the streets we drove, I recognized scenes from Guatemala and El Salvador.  The small family shops and the internationally recognized businesses. The streets and sidewalks filled past the maximum.  The colors, colors, colors.  The smells of cars, of burning trash, of humanity.  The sounds of cars - engines and horns, enthusiastic demonstrators, animals.  The feel of the heat, the exhaustion, the excitement, the hope, the despair, the curiosity.  The taste of sweet fruit candy, a treat shared with us in the car as dusk approached and our Muslim driver broke his daily Ramadan fast.

One year ago today, I began to learn anew what hospitality meant - what it meant to be the stranger that was welcomed, what it meant to be the hungry and the thirsty person who was fed and given drink, what it meant to be the person who was naked in knowledge and patiently clothed through the wisdom of those I met, what it meant to be visited and lovingly cared for within the constraints of the dis-ease and inner prison of my cultural assumptions and limitations.

One year ago today, I arrived in India, relieved that I had not physically died during the plane ride, yet knowing that the 16 hours I spent in the air had not only transported me across the world, but into a new phase of life, a dying to my old self and old life and rebirth into a me I had yet to know.

One year ago today, I did not know where I'd be physically, emotionally, or spiritually today.  One year later, more than anything else I am grateful for where I have been, where I am, where I am going in every plane of my life - physical, emotional, and spiritual.   Today I am grateful.  

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