Over thirty hours in airports and airplanes -- and I'm finally home. Hooray!! A hot shower in my own bathroom felt wonderful, washing away the bedraggled feeling of traveling in the same clothes for two days. I also washed away the not-quite-clean feeling of having walked the streets of India, breathing in the exhaust of the vehicles and the stench of garbage and sewage.
Now what? What do I do with this experience? Thinking about it as we flew home, I came back to the fact (one of those repeated things I come up against) that I really don't know what tomorrow holds but God does. If I seek Him, He'll show me the next step. That's true for everything about life, whether the daily experiences or the once-in-a-lifetime ones. The song "God is God and I Am Not" is apropos here.
Two central themes keep rolling around in my head. One is basically what I have been doing for the last couple of years: I need to continue to encourage people to do SOMETHING to fight modern day slavery on a regular basis such as sponsoring a child, buying products that are fairly traded and slave free, or donating to rescue groups like International Justice Mission, etc. Along with this message I now have pictures and stories to share, visually showing the need and putting real faces to the message. The stories of Mother Teresa and Aloka underline the power of one life, rich or poor, to make a difference. I think we don't really understand how much difference even small efforts can make in the life of another.
Secondly, it hit me that another message that I have to share is that of unity against the common enemy of slavery and grinding poverty. The group that I was part of was very diverse. Some very liberal, others very conservative. Ages ranging from 18 to 55. Many team members had traveled the world while others, like me, had not. The differences didn't matter. We were focused on the task of touching the lives of girls who have no one else in the world to care about them but their housemothers and other shelter girls. Our hearts were united in this effort. Other concerns were let go.
Our society, too often, focuses on what's adversarial instead of what we have in common. We waste time fighting each other about this or that, the cares of the world crowding out the seed we started to sow. Can we not come together more as Mother Teresa did, seeing the need and choosing to serve all regardless of their status, their faith, etc.? In time, after establishing relationships of side-by-side serving and caring, we can still discuss the issues that we disagree on. But issues don't have to keep us so far apart that we forget that all of us who are blessed with much are called to help "the least of these."
Lord, please open my eyes and lead me.