It's been a while.
There is more to convey than I have words for. Since I am momentarily at a loss for words, I will copy some here from an email that I sent to my best friend a few days ago:
So much to write you about...so much that I don't know how to process or if I'm meant to.
First, I am so thankful for Jules. I love that Jesus put her and i together here. So many times she and i have wandered off or lagged behind just to sit and BE with the people who beg.
Whenever I feel like "just being" isn't good enough, I hear Him say, "I AM."
Today -- oh the things that happened today...I saw an old man with no shirt and massive bubbles of his own skin all over his body. I have never seen anything like it. Jules and I saw him yesterday and our world was rocked just to look into his eyes. We stopped, stooped down on the ground to be on his level (although we already were due to our humanity) and hold his hand and kiss his head and call him our friend and throw in Jesus' name. Today we came close to where he was sitting and she asked me to come with her to go sit with him again while the other three went on an ATM adventure.
We walked up to him and asked him his name again. (We did that yesterday too, i forgot to mention.) I really, really wish I could remember. It was three syllables and there was an M. He was so beautiful that you would have cried. Julia did. And you know how I am. Which means I didn't cry but would have if i were the crying kind.
We bent low and held his hands and just existed with him. Jules said a lot of words, and I said a few...most of what I said was just His name. I was so happy and filled with joy to be sitting with him.
Someone came up to us and said, "Ma'am, I want to tell you that this man has a skin disease that you will get if you touch him."
Julia's eyes were already full of tears -- not pitying the man on the ground, but LOVING him and BEING with him in his suffering and sitting with him and carrying buckets full of love to the places of abandon and shame and disgrace that have made their own claims on his life...and dumping those buckets on him in a mess of beauty and justice.
She spoke back to the man immediately with the same tears of love, "It is okay because my God is big and my God is Jesus Christ. It is already done; I have already touched him and I will not leave because he is my friend."
She then took the scarf from her neck and adorned him with it. We noticed then that a HUGE crowd had drawn and encircled us. I didn't look long enough to read the expressions on their faces. But i did hear mocking laughter. A sikh man came up to our friend and said things to him in a way that put a bad taste in my mouth. But i smiled at him too. And again i told the man on the ground that he is my friend.
A police man came with his big stick and started swatting it to disperse the crowd...but it grew. Laura, David and Sarah came and had to shove themselves through. We didn't hear until later how angry they were at the looks on people's faces who were watching us. I asked Him yesterday to only let me see what He wanted me to see...which is the same thing Rachel prayed when she was in Mumbai...and she didn't notice the men who stare all the time.
Which is HARD to miss. But Jesus. :)
Three years ago i remember believing that He is the God of the oppressed...but at the time it was hard for me to believe that He is also the God of the oppressor.
Something He did in me a while ago (I think it was the summer of '09) was show me His tenderness for those who oppress. Today He put words to it. Here are some of them:
"TRULY the oppressor oppresses for lack of trust in You. TRULY whatever isn't done in faith is sin. The one who steals does so because he does not trust Your loving provision. The one who lusts does so because he does not trust God to be his delight. The one who lies does so for the same reason the Israelites provoked You in the desert -- they did not trust the truth of Your love for them."
He is coupling that ^ with so much tenderness and compassion. And compassion is not a haze of pity that makes those who are wrong appear to be right. Compassion sees clearly but embraces anyway.
I have never spoken with so much momma bear syndrome as I did tonight. There was a boy with no shirt and no shoes, dirty as dirty comes and sporting a fresh wound on his left cheek. His eyes were not white anymore and there was a scar on his head where some gash was before. He was probably 12.
I saw desperation and thirst in his eyes.
The momma bear came out when i went to buy him food from a street vendor. I asked with a boldness so bold that it may have seemed harsh, but it was the, "You better listen to me because what I'm saying is important" kind of boldness. Authority. (I just realized that the word "author" is in authority.)
I said to the vendor, "Are you here every day?"
"Yes, yes madam."
"Do you see this boy every day?"
"You listen to me, bhaiya (brother) -- you take this money and you feed this boy tomorrow when you see him. Tk?" (tk = ok in Hindi.)
I gave him double the cost of the food i bought for the boy. I pray he actually feeds him tomorrow. Trust is really all i've got there...trust for God's goodness to override man's corruption.
It's just 200 rupees. And he's hungry.
Jules and I were approached by a family with no father and they asked us to buy them rice. We did. We just didn't realize that rice was going to cost $45 USD. They bought so much. The thoughts I hate but don't know how to ignore were swarming in my head:
"Do they have a pimp? Is he going to beat them for this? Will he let them eat it? Are they taking advantage of us? What's wrong with that anyway? Who will feed them tomorrow? Why didn't I go to the ATM this morning? What's that smell?"
But He hushed me with His soothing voice and said, "Do it in love, Brittany, only do it in love." Love makes it worth it. It simplifies everything. Doing it in love, doing it for the moment -- but not the eternal-less moment. The "I AM" is Love. He IS Love. Is...present tense. Present love. Presence. of love. Ah.
And then there was the 15-year-old beauty whose face was marred by fire seven years ago when her house burnt down and she lost everything -- including her parents. Her name is Pooja, which means "worship."
She asked if Julia and i are sisters and then she said, "I think you are sisters because you have the same look in both of your eyes and it is very beautiful."