Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nothing could prepare me.

I would like to talk about a specific moment during my trip to India that I think hit me the hardest.

It's strange, and feels wrong because I'm struggling to find the words to describe the moment. It feels like I'm pulling word after word off the racks and it just doesn't look right or doesn't quite fit. And it certainly doesn't do anything justice. The problem is endless, and I'll never figure out the words. Because they're aren't any. They don't exsist. The only possible way for you to know is if you were there.

I've been through 2 years of pursuing my women's studies degree. Reading about forced prostiution and sex trafficking. Seeing documentaries. Looking at women in pictures. I thought I knew. My heart broke for the women. I cared about them. I wanted to do something about it.

But, then, I was actually there. I was with the women. She put her hand on my leg as she painted flowers. Modeled after mine. She held my hand. She smiled, laughed. Sipped chai tea. Enjoyed life with me. Her eyes connected to mine like oceans to rivers. The women were so beautiful.

My heart didn't just break, it landed on the floor with a loud crash into millions of pieces when I remembered. When I realized, after they were done enjoying life with us, after they were done sipping chai, painting flowers, eating chocolate and laughing -they had to go work.

When we left the building, and quietly grabbed cabs to go back to the YMCA, I lost it. Tears were abundant and words were gone.

The words were gone. Because there were none anymore. They didn't exist.

I remember the cab ride back was extreamly quiet. Which is a strange occurence in Mumbai, India. Where people are abundant and cars are honking and noise levels are always on high. But, it's like all sound just dropped off the face of the earth. It was just my breaking heart and God. Even my crying wasn't making much noise. Their lives, were unimaginable to me, I thought. But, they've endured it all their lives. It's sort of all they know. The robbery of their very being is all they know. Knowing that made it worse. Made the tears flow more heavily.

I'll never forget these women. Ever. I constantly wonder what they are doing throughout the day. Are they working? Or are they getting the opprotunity to live today? To paint? To laugh? To sing? To pray? And I have never been so urgant and yearning to continue loving these women. Even with the language barrier, the love was universal. I know it sounds cliche and like a badly written song. But seriously, the love language was understood by all that day.

For a while, it seemed to helpless. I was so angry at God for letting this happen. How could he allow millions of women get raped everyday for their jobs? How could he.

and I realized, even among this horrible puzzle of an issue God was there. These women aren't completely enslaved or depressed or trapped or helpless. God is still with them. And God is calling me. Little, nearly useless me to finish my degree so I can keep loving them. How blessed am I? And I have to do this. It's so important. I'm not living for me anymore. I want my life to be about serving them. I absolutley love these women. With all of my shattered heart.

There are no words. Because God is the word. And words for something like that don't exist.

He's too big.

I asked the Lord to break my heart over this. Thankfully, He did.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Holding it together

After I came back from India, I made a pack with myself that I would not let it get to me when I came home. I wept for the things I saw there, but that was over with in Bowling Green. Which meant for a week straight, I barely processed anything that happened to me and kept most things with people in the surface.

I was afraid, that if I had my heart broken and had a hard time with it, I and my supporters would think, "maybe she shouldn't have gone."

Well, I am beginning the processing. Which means, I am allowing my heart to finish breaking. I want to be messed up over this. I am messed up over this.

It's not easy, and it shouldn't be. The lives of some of the people I have encountered are not easy. The very least I could do is break my heart for them. To let it seep into the cracks of my soul so I never stop thinking about them and never stop praying for them.

I feel it's important.

and I wanna talk about it. I wanna talk about it endlessly. Because stories are important, too.

and it's the morning so I'm rambling and somewhat confused but, I want you all to know this.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Left my heart in India.

A few people have asked me when I'm going to make a blog update on my trip to India. I have to say, I'm struggling with the right words to say. As I think about my week there is just no possible to way to condense 10 days of amazing, brutal, life-changing, eye-opening, heart-breaking occurences. There is so much to say, so much to talk about. Where do I even begin?

I guess I can start with the big stuff, the important stuff. The stuff God has taught me throught this trip.

1. God is everywhere. Even when it may not seem like it amongst the poverty, the sex trafficking, the obvious brokeness.

2. Humanity is the same. No matter what culture you are in, we are each made in His image. We all experience love, joy, pain. And we all crave God. On the same note, our sin is the same. A Hindu person worshiping Annapurna is no different than when I worship a bottle of Sailor Jerry's. I am no better and need Jesus just as much.

3. No culture is ever content, even my own.

4. Jesus is the answer.

Here's where I'll start. I'll try to keep writing for the next few days. Like I said, it's so difficult.

But, Mumbai is amazing. The colorful saris hanging out of rustic apartment buildings, the honking horns, the crazy traffic, the people just covering every inch of the city. The Chai tea, the music, the aliveness of it all. What's even sweeter is that I got to share it with a group of my wonderful family.

I left a huge part of my heart in India. I can tell you that. I will never forget it, and always be thinking and praying about it.

I'd love to talk about it sometime. Coffee? Chai? Phone date?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Like a gutted animal.

I just finished reading a book called "Bastard Out of Carolina." We read it for my feminist lit class. The book (fairly accurately, if I may say) touches on three main themes: race, class and gender. Pretty standard for most feminist literature, I would say. The author tells a story of a poor, white, girl with a neglecting mother and an extremely abusive step-father.

As I try to write my paper for this book, I'm having trouble getting past my emotions. Some of you may know, I suffered abuse in my family. It's weird to type out because it doesn't really seem that real most of the time. And I don't really talk about it much. I don't like to talk about it much. When I even allude to it, I go numb. I feel like I'm talking underwater. I feel like my voice is hoarser than normal and my vision goes grey. My heart doesn't make much sense anymore.

Some might say this is a defense mechanism to keep me from getting too sad or angry or remembering too much. Maybe so. Apparently, it's not really healthy but I guess I'm not really sure what is.

When I was little, I didn't know that hitting, punching, shaking and calling your daughter a "little bitch" or "worthless" or an "idiot" was wrong. When I found it out was wrong, my entire world and everything I knew came crashing down right before my eyes. Everything I knew about love, everything I knew about God. Everything. If my father gave me a closed fist blow to the back of my spine, or a hard smack across my face for something as simple as leaving the refrigerator door open what does that say about the Father, God? If my own father, my own fucking flesh and blood could tell me with his slate grey eyes directly on mine, "I never wanted these goddamn kids in the first place." What does that say about God?

he ruined me.

Every time he hit me, every time he jerked me around like I was nothing more than a bag of bones, every time he called me worthless, I went numb. I felt like I was screaming at him underwater. My voice went hoarser than normal. My vision went grey. My heart didn't make sense.

Nothing made sense.

I was only a kid.

I guess the book brought out a lot out of me that I had put in a box and locked up and buried because I don't want to think about it anymore. I don't want it in my heart anymore. I don't want to be bitter about it anymore. I don't want it a part of my story. I don't want it a part of my life. I want it to go away.

It's so hard, you guys. This is raw and real, I know. It feels almost too raw to me to even be writing about. It feels like the image of a dead animal. Split open down the middle. It's rib cage gleaming in the sunlight. It's intestines spilling out on the asphalt. Everything fresh and bloody and raw. It makes you cringe. It makes you close your eyes.

Please don't close your eyes.

I'm pulling up the roots of abuse right out of my heart. It feels like I'm gutting myself. It feels gory and gruesome and brutal.

But luckily, I know that God is not like my dad. God loves me and would never hurt me and that's hard to grasp most of the time.

It's about to be literally, the hardest thing I have ever done.

Because I love my dad.

But, I also love God, and I know the past couple of days God has been telling me to walk in the light. With everything. And the light is bright and sometimes I want to go back inside or put on a pair of sunglasses or go hide in the shade somewhere. But I'm not doing that anymore. And God has given me an amazing body to open up to. So I'm doing it. Right here, right now. I need you guys.

Typing that didn't feel real. Please don't close your eyes.