Monday, January 29, 2007

Day 20 - Reunited

I got my luggage back!!! What a relief! I knew it had to show up, but four days in the same clothes was kind of wearing on me. It looked as though someone had done some serious digging, but so far all is accounted for. I cannot tell you how good it was to put my own pjs on last night.

It was kind of a rough night last night after leaving Agra for Delhi. We traveled by train and the train was an hour late getting there. I can honestly say that we saw some of the saddest things while waiting for the train. While we waited we were constantly being asked for money. One heartbreaking thing we saw was a man with no legs scooting himself around on his bottom begging us for money. Another was a tiny woman curled up in a blanket, lying on the ground where stray dogs had used the bathroom. I didn't even know there was a person there for a long time, until I saw a dog walk by her.

The porters who helped us with our luggage were a sight to behold. They had these long pieces of cloth that they rolled up and put on their heads. Then they proceeded to put 60 lb pieces of luggage on their heads, one suitcase stacked on another. Next, they put duffle bags to carry on their shoulders. I was dumbfounded.

We loaded on the train once it came and moved on down the road. I have been drinking a lot of water lately because my throat has been really scratchy and I have been coughing. So needless to say, I had to use the bathroom. I made my way to the back of the car to the bathroom. Once I got in the bathroom and got situated water started dripping all over me from the ceiling and was running down the wall. I have no idea what it was or where it came from, but I got out quick and left with a sick feeling in my stomach.

As we got to Delhi and were making our way to the car the hotel sent for us, I saw the saddest thing I have ever witnessed. There were people all over the train track digging through the trash from the train, eating food and drinking the little water at the bottoms of water bottles that had been thrown out. The stray dogs were right in there with them. I cannot even begin to describe the magnitude of the poverty here. I have never witnessed anything so sad in my life. Everywhere we go we see how these destitute people live. I was not prepared for how bad it would be here. It is all very humbling.

I am having a hard time reckoning how we live in a time where we have instant access to nearly anything and there are still people in the world who are eating out of the trash left on the train tracks. How is it that there are some of us so blessed and yet so many so hopeless? I know there are no easy answers to these things, but it is really overwhelming to me right now. It doesn't seem right.

So lost luggage seems terribly insignificant.


p miller said...

I cannot imagine going from the Taj Mahal one day to the such complete poverty on another. I'm sorry that you have to see such disturbing images, and even more sorry that people still live in such disturbing situations. Your description make me think of the Mother Teresa and marvel at her and her work even more.
I continue to be convinced that a major influence in my evolving views of God and the church and politics has been my travels. To believe that all that matters is the spiritual and getting to heaven or that God is only relevant to my soul makes me heart ache as I read your blog. That we've buried God's practicality to such real life hurting, distress and pain beneath our selfishness and our comfort masked in bad theology is such an insult and a slap in the face of his essence and purpose. I only wish I was farther along in my journey towards understanding God's relevance in real life. On the other side I'm glad there are churches who are waking up to God's vision of us being a blessing to people in the here and now.
Whether it happen because of churches or individuals like Bono may there be an end to world hunger soon.
(Sorry for being so 'preachy')

Lisa said...

I don't know what to say that won't wreak of triteness or complete ignorance. It's easy to provide wise-sounding words when I am sitting at my computer and not standing in the street staring at the most staggering sights I never imagined I would see. I pray for the strength of your spirit and I love you beyond measure.

Angie said...

Sarah, I'm thankful you can be touched in this way. You may think, "well, who wouldn't?" But no doubt tons of people there have hardened their hearts to such sights.

I'm telling you, this post really stirs something deep in me that God is waking me up to. I echo every single thing that Paul said and I cried almost as much reading his words as I did reading yours.

I was telling Greg just last night on the phone that this whole Christianity thing is taking me to places I hadn't expected, and I can see what it requires of me... and I already feel guilty for the many years I've been so comfortable in church.

How can scenes like the ones you mentioned be so intensely ingrained in our hearts and at the same time so easily replaced and pushed to the farthest recesses of our brains? It's not right.

I want to share with you a part of a nightly prayer from a prayer book I've been reading. This has helped me get out of myself a bit and I find that the repetition of it keeps the important things in the forefront of my memory. It may be something you want to say tonight:

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

I love you, Sarah.

tim rush said...

When I read your post I was thinking about the two boys your teaching and wondering what impact all that they are seeing will have on their futures.

Now I'm thinking of the two little guys playing behind me as I type. I always want to "protect" them from even seeing such horrible things.

May all our eyes (and hearts) be opened.

MommaFlee said...

Can't really add anything here Sarah...I know how you feel though. Keep listening to the still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit as he communicates to your heart. I'm praying for you today as you process all that you are experiencing. God is not far away!


Angie said...

"...four days in the same clothes was kind of wearing on me."

When I read your post again, I thought that line was kinda funny.

Gayla said...

Sarah - I believe that sometimes God allows us to experience things and see things to allow our eyes to see situations in our lives differently. I couldn't help but think of our students when I read your post. Even though their magnitude of poverty is nothing like you describe (or at least I hope not), I couldn't help but think how insensitive some people are to their situations and the situations of those you have described. I also agree with Tim. How will the change the boys' life and then I also had the same thought of wanting to shelter my two from seeing such devastation. However, I pray that they too will be as sensitive as you have been to the situation. Thank you for sharing that awful experience with us on top of all the "Taj Mahal" experiences. I need to be reminded daily of how insignificant some of my issues really are. God Bless!

elaine santos said...

Sarah, God did not send just anyone on this trip--He chose you. Having said that though, I can not imagine seeing the most beautiful then the most heart breaking and trying to process it all. Philippians 1:6 tells us...
"He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." I have a dear friend who says when you see what Jesus sees you will feel what Jesus feels, and through these moments I believe God is perfecting your heart to be more like His. I am continually praying for your renewing. We love you beyond measure.