Category Archives: India

Dreams

I just woke up from a dream… a really vivid, makes-my-heart-hurt dream.
About Jodhpur, India.

If you know me in real life, you probably know, living in Jodhpur is my “other life” – the one I would pursue if I didn’t have this super-awesome one with 3 kids and a husband who thinks India is really hot.
I can usually repress thinking about how much I miss it.

But I just woke up from a commonly-recurring dream about a homecoming trip to Jodhpur. They used to be less emotional, just me wandering around India, trying to find places I remember but don’t know the route to.
But this one just tore out my heart.
It was a reunion with my most love India families – Anindita, Man Singh & Anita, Honey & Rajeshwari.

The hard part of the dream focused on Anindita:
She’s like my Indian sister. When I lived in Jodhpur in 1999, she was in college – and I was just out of college.
I spent the night at her house, talked about future hope & dreams in our different family-cultural systems of expectation.

In the dream, I see Anindita, start crying and hug her. I ask her about children and she says she has a 9 year-old. I realize this means she was pregnant last time I was there, before either of us were married. I feel hurt and confused, because neither of our family-cultural systems support this, but we could have shared this.

Then I woke up. And I feel sadder with reality, due to the dream.
Because reality is the reverse of this:

My last visit to Jodhpur was in January of 2001, one month before Joel and I got married.
About 1 day into the 17-day trip, I could barely muster the energy to walk down a street. By the 3rd day, when we actually arrived in Jodhpur, I was pretty certain that I must be pregnant… and in a foreign country with only 1 other person… and with my whole identity around being a Christian missionary, in a identity-crisis.
It was the hardest time of my life.
And I spent most of this time faking I was okay with Anindita.
I had a reason not to tell:
I really wanted her to know about my God, and I didn’t want to make Him look bad by being another fake-Christian American like most Indians have seen on movies.
Cause He really is EVERYTHING, even if I get pregnant before I’m married.
I didn’t want to cancel it all out.
I didn’t know if I could explain grace in a culture where shame is so powerful, dictating your every move.

I’ve never had a chance to tell her.
After that trip, I came home to my wedding only 2 weeks away, my first scary ultrasound 6 weeks away, and then had Arabella 7 months later…
Every year, as time passes, I want to write a letter, catch up, show her my babies.
But I never had.

I look for her ANYWHERE on the internet all the time. Haven’t found her yet.

I miss Anindita. I wish I had just told her the truth at the time.

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Reflections on 28 years…

While living in India, I had two experiences with “older” women that I can relate to more today than ever before.

  • I shared my room, and alot of my traveling time, in Rajasthan with Helen. Helen was a 69-year old grandmother from San Angelo, Texas. And that is all I saw her to be for the first 2 months we were together – a grandmother. She wore different clothing than me (from the “Women’s Department”) and she wore her hair in a style that speaks of a different era, involving rollers and picks. Honestly, I didn’t even try to find out who she was as a person. About 1/2 way through out trip, she got really anxious. Paralyzed by the unknown, she would avoid going out to do the work we came to do… “What a waste, what a wimp,” I thought, having adjusted to this place like a fish to water. Then our team leader pointed something out – at her core, Helen is just a girl. The same girl she was at my age. She may have been outgoing or shy, pretty or homely, but either way, someone who needs friends. And her years have given her faith and experience that could teach me alot. I think it took reaching out to her/looking out for her about 2 days before Helen completely opened up. She began to share her journey to India. It turned out she was an adventurer like I only dreamed of becoming. And I almost missed it all.
  • About 1 1/2 months into our time in Rajasthan, the president of Caleb Project and his wife came to check on our team. They left 3 elementary-age children back in Colorado while they traveled throughout India. During their stay with us in Jodhpur, the wife pulled me aside and said this:

“I may not look like you, but I am not different. When I look in the mirror, I still see the young girl I was in college, and wonder who this woman is. I need a friend. You may not think that we are the same. But I am having a hard time right now. I see myself as the same as you.”

Right now, I can understand these words more than ever before. Most of my social life is spent with beautiful younger women who seem to be a lifetime away from motherhood and marriage. Many times, I feel like I don’t know what to talk about with them, because all of my similar experience are “I remember when.”

As I grow older, I still perceive myself as 20 years old. I still long for my mother’s approval. I still love the butterflies I get from holding hands. I still try to shop in the junior’s section. Only now, my body shows the bulge of 2 pregnancies. And it doesn’t matter if I can wear a bikini, cuz my husband likes cotton panties and a t-shirt best.

Actually, writing this made me realize what feels so different even though I think I am the same – I feel safe, secure, happy, like I have succeeded. Not that I’ve stayed a size 4, but that I am in a relationship I could only dream of at 20. I have kids I never even imagined. I don’t feel like money is ruling my life, even though it is often a thorn in my side. My relationship with God is more requiring of faith than ever (which is a good thing). And I am not bored, which is a big fear I have about life.

Doing God’s work around the World just makes sense in my life…

Before I know the Lord, before He had rocked my world and given me a purpose in life, I wanted to be a world traveler. Growing up, my grammy & grandad lived in Japan and Saudi Arabia, and we were able to visit them in Japan. Also, my mom took us to visit Mexico several times. And my families form of “vacation” was traveling by car across the east part of the U.S. in a van with 3 kids. So I naturally wanted keep traveling as an adult.
Jump forward to college… I noticed that life was meaningless, without a purpose, in the Spring of 1997. The Holy Spirit was gently tapping on my shoulder, showing me where to find a purpose, but it took from January until June for me to pay attention. Then my life turned AMAZING. Between June and the next January, I felt the Lord leading me away from the major I loved (architecture) to a career focused on Him.
Doing missions just makes sense… travel combined with serving and loving people. Everyone has a way they express love. In my family, this is service – doing work to show your love to another.

God begins using my life for His purpose:
So as college went on, my mission work began. I spent 3 summers working with children with disabilities at Camp Barnabas in Missouri. This taught me to incorporate spiritual lessons into daily tasks. I bath and diapered, carried and snuggled, and disciplined and guided children and adults. This job required reliance on God more than anything else I had done. I also learned to see past the external to what God had designed them to be.

Then the adventure stepped up a level:
At the end of college, I was offered the amazing opportunity to live in Rajasthan, West India, for 3 months. During this time, I met beautiful people representing an entirely different part of God’s nature and design. I fell in love with them and with the idea of teaching them about God. I dreamt of living in Jodhpur forever.

Upon my return from India, I started putting my life in order to get back to Jodhpur. Then I met Joel. During our dating, he told me that until God put a specific direction on his life, he would follow the directions God had given me…
By our 2nd month together, God began to show us the direction He would have us follow together. At a missions conference in Dallas, we were first introduced to Russia as a place in need of Jesus.

More to come, when I have time to write again!