January 13, 2007
I am realizing that really, the most important thing that I can do at Pannai is to love the kids and to make sure they know that I love them. I think this is what is missing most from their lives: love. They do not have anyone holding them on their laps and telling them they’re beautiful or wonderful or smart or simply that they love them. I wonder how many times these kids have heard those words, “I love you.” They are powerful words and words that I know are so meaningful every time I say them and hear them. My life is so full of love. So full of people I love and by whom I am loved. I like how my name says this. It’s funny to think how well it seems to suit me. I am so loved, and I can never forget it. Right, so loving people is something, the most important something, that I can do at Pannai. Perhaps it is the most important thing that any of us can do for another person. I think that’s why it was so important for me to tell you that I love you this summer and just in general. I have been telling it to my parents and closest friends a lot since I’ve been here in India. It is SO important.
Sometimes I am good at loving myself and other times not so good. Sometimes I let myself be and other times I try to control or mold myself in ways that aren’t really helpful. Both are here. I do both here in India.
On a different note, I am notice myself react to other people’s ideas of Christianity. I have had conversations with folks who talk about “believers” and “the kingdom.” A young girl in my church community was talking about Hinduism versus Christianity and how she thinks Hinduism is silly because it is simply people worshipping not even many gods but just statues. She explained how she thinks it’s silly to worship statues that can’t do anything. In Christianity, people worship the “Living God,” she explained. Her articulateness reminded me of how I imagine myself to have been when I was little (maybe not as little as her, but anyway). But at the same time, I found myself saddened by her narrow view of the world and God. She also told me that “Christianity is the best religion.” I didn’t know what to say. I don’t agree, but I’m not sure what her mum would think of me if I was like, “Well, actually, Hindus’ Gods are real, too. They are just as “living” as the Christian God. Furthermore, Christianity is not the Best religion but simply A religion. Arguably a very exclusive and judgmental one. Even a violent one. In any case, I didn’t say anything to agree or disagree with her. But it still made me kind of sad.
It’s 1:00 am. way past my bedtime. Smile. This makes it feel like a holiday. Oh, you want to know something exciting…. I’m going to visit Tanya Koch, one of my best friends from Pomona in Thailand in six weeks. I’m really excited to see her and to be away and everything. I’m looking forward to the ocean. I do love the ocean. I see God very much in the ocean. Very much. It is so very vast, there is so much life within it, and then there is salty water in our own lives – in our tears, in the sweat of our hard work, in our blood, coursing through our bodies. I like the idea of God and the ocean as one.
I’ve started reading a book about Experiencing God that someone gave me recently, and I’m really having trouble with it. It wants me to see Jesus as my “Lord and Savior.” I have no problem seeing him as a brother, a teacher, a guide, a friend, a mentor, a role model. But as Lord and Savior? As God? That’s just not what I believe. The book is making me wonder if I can be Christian. Maybe I just can’t be the book’s kind of Christian. I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like I am being called to Christian ministry. Did I tell you that my dad asked me if I would be going to seminary after getting back to the U.S.? Kind of funny. Other times I feel like there is no way in the world I could ever be a Christian minister, much less a Christian. I don’t know. I feel God’s presence in and around and through me and throughout all the world. That is so much a part of who I am and what I do and my ability to carry on. My faith tells me that it is my responsibility to live as I do and even more lovingly than I do. That I am called to love the world and all that is in it and not just to live for myself and my own pleasure. I believe that I should “sacrifice” some things so that others may have more. But I do not believe that Jesus was God. I do not believe that he died and therefore my sins are forgiven. I do not believe he was raised from the dead. I do not believe Christianity is better than any other religion. I do not believe that God is a being or a person in any sense of either of these words. I don’t believe God can DO or even THINK anything. I believe God is. This is SO powerful for me. Maybe I am blaspheming. I don’t know, and i don’t really care.
Anyway, these are my musings. I feel like you’ve heard some of this already, but it’s in my mind and heart right now. Thanks for being shared with.
I am with you.