Tag Archives: questions

Post 202. The Threat of War

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In June 2002,  the US embassy put out an advisory for all foreigners to leave India. Pakistan was threatening to drop a nuclear bomb on Delhi.

The thought of leaving our community was horrible.  “Not even an option!”  Tony made some calls to our relatives who advised otherwise.  They felt it would be irresponsible of us to not think about our children.

We made some emergency plans which in retrospect were quite silly ones.  If a bomb was dropped, there was no way on earth we were going to be able to drive our car from Delhi to Mussoorie.  We couldn’t even drive to our local market on a normal day without getting stuck in a traffic jam.  The panicky pictures we painted in our minds and to each other were all horrendous and futile, bordering on comical.

We lay awake wondering:  If we left the country, when would we ever get back?  What would happen to our Delhi community?  How could we abandon our family?  Could we take them all with us?  What about our kids?  They were our priority.  We were torn.

The threat came and went and came and went..  and with it our fear.  Love for the community grew.  Were we going to run away like hirelings? No.  We were shepherds. Our kids were our first sheep and we never wanted to put them in danger.   We were also in love with the “community sheep” who would have been harassed and helpless without a shepherd.

The test was real.  Would we run away at the first sign of trouble?  Would we pack up our things, head for a safe, foreign land and leave behind those who had no option but to stay?

One night as we lay in the dark, peace descended on us.  We decided we would only go if the Indian Government demanded it ( and even then, we wondered how we could camouflage ourselves without looking too much like Peter Sellers in The Party 🙂

The kids each got a new backpack with a few emergency items, which they kept on their beds.  Within a couple of days, the snacks had been eaten during midnight feasts and the bags were used for storing things.

“They” say, “Most of what we fear never happens.”  I have found this to be very true.   Fear can be paralysingly real.  It has the power to control.  It has the power to stop us dead in our tracks.  It disturbs our peace and limits our ability to experience freedom and love.  It affects our destiny.

We decided, after much turmoil and stress, to grab fear by the throat and hold it against the wall.  When we looked it in the eye, we were surprised at it’s timidity.

It’s fear.

PS.

See more of my posts on fear.  Yes, I’ve had issues 🙂

Post 168 and Post 169

 

 

 

 

 

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Post 201. Floccinaucinihilipilification

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Floccinaucinihilipilification:

Why Rajkumari?

I had seen thousands of homeless, desperate women dressed in smelly rags

So often in a worse state than Looli

Is it because they all had their hands out and Looli didn’t?

They demanded everything and anything as if it was their right

But Looli demanded and expected nothing

Her only demand was to be left alone and to have peace

Is that what made me go after her?

There was a nothing-ness about her

We could gain nothing from her and she wanted nothing from us.

It was there that the two arrows met

She found love and so did we

All selfishness left

We lived only to see her safe and at peace

Away from danger and evil people.

Suddenly our lives and entertainment seemed shallow and unimportant

Nothing was more important than to see improvement in her

Signs of hope, a new smile, to hear a clear word from her

Sad, stiff mouth.

O God! How many more like Looli?

I want to know but I don’t want to know

I want to see but I don’t want to see

At all! At all!

To see would demand total unselfishness

A total surrender of our whole family.

If we want to see justice done

It would mean spending our lives on behalf of the poor

So, don’t show us everyone Lord,

Just show us OUR Loolis.

The ones you want US to love

The ones you will work it out for.

And thanks for loving me in my state of nothingness,

Just as you love Princess Looli.

PS.

The loveliest, longest word in the dictionary was taught to me by my dad when I was 8:  I mastered it when I was 9.  More than the challenge of the word itself, I was fascinated that such a long word could mean nothing…

Flocci-nauci-nihili-pili-fication: Definition:  The action or habit of estimating something as worthless.  A state of nothingness.

 

Post 23. Changes

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Papa and Mom- my grandparents on my mum's side.

Papa and Mom- my grandparents on my mum’s side.

Billy Graham was coming to town!  I had no idea who he was.  I guessed he was a great man because there was a great fuss.  Lindy’s mum had been asked to play the piano for the crusade. She was really excited.  Lindy was going to turn the pages for her so she would also be on the stage.

Somehow I managed to get my whole family there.  Dad literally dragged Sue into the car; almost kicking and screaming.

We arrived at the Billy Graham Crusade with thousands of others.  I was amazed that so many people had come and I wondered if any of my old Sunday school teachers were there.   Papa came with us under a lot of duress.  He was rolling his home made cigarettes and mumbling about a fly that had flown into his eye.  “Of all the thousands of people here, why did it choose my eye?”  There was a lot of complaining coming from Sue and Papa.

From way back in the stadium, Dave and I could see Lindy on the stage. We told Wilf and Val that we needed the toilet and made our way to her. We stood behind the stage messing around and talking to friends.  We didn’t hear a word Billy was saying. Before we knew it, thousands of people started coming towards the stage.  Dave and I were caught up in the crowd.  Two counsellors asked us if we wanted to become followers of Jesus.  We both nodded.  Dave closed his eyes and so did I.  It was a short prayer and I knew what it meant.  I wasn’t sure Dave did.  I was really nervous that he was going to add, “and God bless the Zulu boys.”  We gave the people our address and that was that.

We drove home with such tension in the car.  Dad and Mom couldn’t find us in the crowd and Sue and Papa were really playing up.  Over the next couple of days we found out that each one of us had gone forward at the end of Billy Graham’s preach.

After that night with Billy Graham, one of the first things that changed was my temper.  I was more patient.  Somehow I didn’t want to hurt people with my words anymore.  The fear of fire left me and I was secure, knowing that when I died, I would go to heaven.  I knew then how to answer Lindy. My only answer to God would be, “Because of Jesus.”

Wilf and Val were NOT happy.  Suddenly religion became the main topic for discussion.  During an argument I told them that they needed to be born again otherwise they wouldn’t go to heaven. For the first time in my life, Val slapped me across the face.  “How can you say that?  Don’t you know your father is the superintendent of the Sunday school?  If anyone deserves to go to heaven it would be us.”  I told her I didn’t say it, Jesus did.  From that night on there were to be no religious discussions in the house; especially not at the table.  There was more tension than ever.

Post 22. Decisions, decisions

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We never talked about what we believed.  There were no discussions of politics or religion.  What we did during the week had nothing to do with what we did on Sundays.   I was surprised at how much Lindy’s family talked about it.

One night, just before going to sleep, Lindy asked me, “Linda, if you died tonight and you stood before God and He asked you, ‘Why should I let you into heaven?’ what would you say?”  I had no problem answering.  We go to church.  We pray.  My dad is the superintendent of the Sunday school and my mom is a Sunday school teacher.  We are Christians.

She didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. She prodded me a bit more.  I came up with other reasons.  She still wasn’t happy.  She asked me to forget about my family.  She was talking about ME.

I had managed to get out of many tight spots.  My cuteness and sense of humour worked for me.  I suddenly realised that it wasn’t going to work this time.  We were talking about GOD; The God who Tommy had sung about. The one that I had prayed to every night for fear that, “If I should die before I wake…”

Things were starting to make sense; the Christmas story, Easter, the Sunday school songs and Bible stories came together like puzzle pieces. Because the people of the world were so full of sin, God sent His only son Jesus to die for them.  That was Christmas.  He lived a life without sin, but evil men didn’t like how good He was so they put Him on a cross.  That was Easter Friday.  Easter Monday He came alive again.

I believed all of that and I was proud of myself for working it all out.  Lindy still wasn’t happy.  She kept saying that she loved me and she wanted me to be in heaven with her.  So, what would I say to God?  None of my answers were going to be good enough.  I knew that I wasn’t good enough to get into heaven.  I needed some help.  Lindy told me I needed to be “born again”.

It was news to me that I was loved by God.  I knew that He loved the world, but I never thought that included me.  I found that amazing.  I didn’t need to clean myself up or try to be good enough.   I just had to see how bad I was, ask God to forgive me and give my whole life over to Jesus.  No-one in our church ever told me that.

It took me months of listening to lots of sermons at Lindy’s church.  I was scared of what my family would say if I told them I was “born again.”  That was just for the Pentecostals, not for the Methodists.  My friends were convinced I had gone crazy.

I kept going to the Friday night parties but they started to feel empty.  Even the one when a territorial fight broke out between the Woodlands boys and the Bluff boys.  Bottles were broken and there was a lot of blood. I was bored and just wanted to go home.