The missions trip is finally underway. We all arrived, with all our luggage, safely on Sunday evening. I have many stories to tell about the trip here, the tour of Istanbul, the final leg of the journey to Shimla. If you’ve heard of History Channel’s Deadliest Roads, I can say I have bragging rights that I’ve been on THAT road, the one the truckers had to go up during Season 1. In fact, I was on it for 7 hours yesterday! Where’s my prize????
All you’ve ever heard about driving in India cannot begin to describe what it is like to actually BE on the roads in India! I am thankful that we are all OK. I cannot even think of words to use to describe those experiences.
Today we went to the Shimla market to purchase a few last things for the conference. Shopping in an Indian market is certainly not like shopping at home – and it isn’t even exactly what I had pictured it would be. I guess I had in mind many stalls set up next to each other, wares laid out in perfectly neat rows. What I found was what seemed to be 100 million shops each the size of a postage stamp filled to overflowing with everything you can think of, with a crowd of customers worthy of the Mall of America in December. One of the shops we went in was probably the size of my first kitchen, but Rachel (the missionary) commented how she loved coming to that shop because they have everything. And she’s right, we purchased ribbon, thread, underwear, zit cream, lip gloss, and safety pins there. And as I was waiting, I could also see jewelry, makeup, shoes, bras, all the health and beauty products you could need in a lifetime, and more besides all that. And I really am not kidding – this shop was about the same size as my first kitchen.
Carrie, Debbi and I want to wear traditional Indian clothing while we are teaching this conference. So we set out to get Punjabi suits for ourselves. Again, Rachel took us to the best shop for that. Chetan’s shop was just shelves filled with punjabis along the back wall. He took down almost all of them, it seemed – and if he took it off the shelf, then it automatically got taken out of its bag, unfolded and shown in its entirety. He could look at each one of us and immediately tell if one or another fabric choice would work for us or not. He told us countless times that his job would only be done well if we were completely comfortable and satisfied with his service and his product. The best part – the three that I chose will be cut and made to order and hand delivered to my door the day after tomorrow. And, I only paid about $10 each for the custom tailoring.
What I’d like to share tonight is how my heart has already been affected by this trip. Our conference has not even begun yet, and my heart is bursting to break open. I could relay to you all the specific details of what has happened in my day – but that sounds about as exciting as watching your Great-Uncle George’s slides of his Grand Canyon trip (even though my stories would be far more exciting than a big trench in the ground, but still, you get the idea.) Instead, I would rather share those stories in person – and share with you tonight how God is working in my heart.
Tim has been gone now for a year and a half already. I don’t know how this is even possible! but it really has been that long. About six months ago, I felt a fog lift off and away from my life. I felt like I was starting to live in color again. But I am realizing tonight, that though the color has come back, I still feel like I’m stuck in a silent movie. I am realizing that surround sound is out there somewhere, and I am missing out on it. There is still a big part of me that needs to continue healing. It seems odd to me that this realization is coming to me on the other side of the planet, but so be it.
I think what really made me realize this most of all was tonight at dinner, we were eating at a traditional Indian restaurant, and Debbi asked me what food I thought I would miss by the time we leave India. I got teary-eyed as I realized I won’t miss any foods from home. That isn’t what caused the tears – it’s the reason behind it – I still don’t cook. And I don’t cook because I enjoyed cooking for Tim. Together he and I would work in the kitchen, or at times I would cook a new dish for us to try. It was my one thing that I did for him. Now, the boys don’t like anything I cook, they never want to help, it’s just a chore now.
Little things like this have been creeping up here and there lately. Times when I realize how deeply lonely a widow’s life can be. Now don’t go thinking that I’m just a blubbering mess. Not at all – it’s just that I am starting to realize that I need to pick up my soup ladle and start stirring my Tear Soup again – just a little bit more. (If you’ve never heard of the book Tear Soup, you really must get it!)
Well, that’s it for tonight. So my word for today is personal awareness. I knew that as soon as I wrote down or spoke about what’s been happening in my heart, I would need to work on it. I have put it off as long as I want to. I want the healing that comes from talking about what is on my heart and mind. So for tonight, I am personally aware of the continued need for healing on my grief journey.