I have now been in India for exactly two weeks and to say that the experience has been amazing would be a severe understatement. From the constant cacophony of sounds and smells, exquisite tastes, and incredible sights India is indeed an adventure, and not only for the senses. My time in India has forced me to wrestle with issues of history and culture, race and castes, economics, globalization, and ideologies as well as all the -isms and –obias that affect our human species. But mostly, my time here has been simply to be present and to enjoy, to experience, to listen and observe, and to delight in the wonders of God’s world and people.
All that said, the vignette I’d like to share here has less to do with what I conveyed above and more of a follow-up from my post of two weeks ago about home. As my previous post expressed, I’m here in India as a mini-sabbatical and as an opportunity to visit dear, dear friends. As such, they’re sharing their life in this land with me and one aspect of that life is their family.
The other day we left Bangalore, the city of 9.5 million where they live and work, to venture south to my friend JP’s mother’s village. We—four adults, a 3 year old, and a 9 month old—took a 12-hour all night train to a small town in her home state of Tamil Nadu. From there we had an hour van ride to the family’s home village picking up one of JP’s aunts along the way. When we arrived at the home, “big Tata” and “big Ava,” JP’s grandparents and the patriarch and matriarch of his family where there to meet us.
We walked into their house, a humble but more than sufficient dwelling, made a home by the warm exuberance of the family members who had come to reconnect one with another. JP related joyful childhood memories that this place brought back to him. The most poignant moment of this entire trip for me here in India, however, was not the reunion of family members, as wonderful as that was. Rather, it was the moment when Katy’s and JP’s 9-month old little boy, Reuben, was lifted into his great grandmother’s, big Ava’s arms. Meeting each other for the first time, great grandson and great grandmother, I couldn’t help but to gasp for a breath. This was a sacred moment, a sacred experience, a sacred place.
Call me a sentimental old sap but this is what home is all about…