“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 5:1/2-
First off, my apologies for my lack of posting. Life has been busy and I have had to pray, a lot, about what I was called to share with you all. I have been keeping you all in my prayers, even though I haven’t written in a while. Settle in, I have a feeling this is going to be a long one. 🙂
These past few weeks have been filled with so many examples of love, for me. Whether that be through saying farewell, with tearful embraces and “I love you’s,” to a beautiful friend, or maybe through little smiles and children embracing and trying desperately to kiss you, to the flowers blooming on the road side, random gifts of coffee beans from my brother, or donations from friends, etc. All of these things are little glimpses of love.
My heart has been pondering, “love,” since coming back from Kolkata. Being where Mother Teresa was, where she taught the world about the deepest form of love, sacrificial love, changed my view so immensily. I thought I had a good grasp on loving. I was wrong.
When I first arrived in Hyderabad, in January, it was hard to adjust. The first few weeks were full of moments where I was humbled. I started to accept and adjust, and then we (R. and I) headed to Kolkata. Never have I felt so humbled and shocked. I don’t think anything can really prepare a soul for the extreme range of emotions one encounters there.
In terms of the poverty, I wasn’t as shocked as I had been preparing my heart for. I will blame that outcome on my having lived in a city like Kolkata, just smaller, for a month already. It was Hyderabad life…times 100. We felt comfortable walking everywhere and following my gps…as opposed to paying taxis to take us. I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I was, even when it came to crossing the street! If you’ve been to India, you understand. If you haven’t, it’s unlike any traffic I have seen.
The MC’s (Missionaries of Charity) Motherhouse. Wow! We walked in, our first night there, for Mass. Mass was in the main room, where St. Mother Teresa’s tomb was. I sat facing her tomb for mass…incredible! After Mass, the priest blessed each person, individually, with a relic of Mother’s heart. The Holy Spirit was definitely present because the prayer was specific to my hearts prayer! The tears, man!!!!
After Mass, I knelt at Mother’s tomb to pray. The room was basically empty, which I came to find amazing, because every other moment I was there, there were hundreds of people filing in chatting and flashing their cameras…it was hard to have quiet prayer there. I closed my eyes and again began to pray about my volunteer assignment for the next day, Kalighat. Mother’s first home she started.
I opened my hands and prayed, “Beloved of my heart, I give You my hands to do Your work. I give You my feet, to walk the path You walked. I give You my eyes, help me to see as You see. I give You my mind, make it free of human fear and weakness. I give You my heart, show me to love, as You love.” I also prayed the prayer of St. Francis, which happened to have the phrase, “…that I may understand and not seek to be understood” (This has been my prayer each morning since my one month mark).
The next morning, we left the hotel early, to make it to morning mass with the sisters. That was a beautiful moment in my heart! How greatly I have missed community prayer here! After mass, volunteers have a quick breakfast of, bananas, chai and a loaf of bread. Then, a quick prayer and off you go! We caught a bus, which is an experience in and of itself, and made it to Kalighat.
After check-in, the men stay on the men’s side and we women were ushered to the women side. We were all split up to help in many areas. Some of what I did was help wring out laundry for about 300 people and run to hang it on the rooftop to dry. I also helped rub coconut oil onto the scalp and arms of each woman there (the oil helps prevent lice and when combing for lice). I colored with a few of them, among other duties. All I can really share is that my morning there, was life changing.
Mother had the phrase, “I thirst,” written everywhere. As I sat rubbing a womans head, she gazed into my eyes. NEVER have I felt “love” in that way. We spoke completely different languages, yet, in one gaze I felt her love. Later when I was carrying her to her bed, for nap time, she was saying something over and over…I helplessly said, “I love you.” She placed her hand on my cheek and I knew she had understood me. Then, the scripture passage of the rich young man came to mind, “And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him…” -Mark 10:21- Had I not given the Lord my eyes just the evening before?
As I got up to go help someone else to bed, she grabbed my hand and motioned to her blanket, under her pillow. I grabbed it and put it over her. She rolled her eyes and said something. I thought in frustration, “How am I supposed to help her Lord? I can’t even comunicate with her!”Again, Mark 10:21 came to mind…all it takes to love, is to truly see someone, to look at them, their heart. She started laughing, which made me laugh, and she threw the blanket to the lady in the next bed. All that time, she was telling me she had someone else’s blanket.
Since coming back, I have added the prayer, “Lord, show me how to quench the thirst in souls here and at home. Help me to continue learning what love really is.” Love is a journey, my friends. Love is hard. Love is devestatingly painful. Love calls us out of ourselves. Love is beautiful! Each day, I am humbled to see and learn more about a love that quenches the thirst, the ache, inside all souls.
Please pray with me, that I may learn more and more, how I am called to love. Know I remember you all daily, in my prayers and thoughts throughout the day. Pray for these children who show me daily, how to imitate God and love as children. (Ephesians 5:1)