Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What do people gain from all the toil
at which they toil under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun goes down,
and hurries to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south,
and goes around to the north;
round and round goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they continue to flow.
All things are wearisome;
more than one can express;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
or the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has already been,
in the ages before us.
The people of long ago are not remembered,
nor will there be any remembrance
of people yet to come
by those who come after them.
I have to be honest, I had to read a bit of history to gain some perspective and understanding of this scripture passage. I found out that King Solomon wrote this scripture verse as a reminder that when we pursue things outside of God, meaning the worldly possessions that bombard us everyday, the satisfaction and joy will not last; we can have everything and yet if we do not love the Lord first, we have nothing. A life without the Lord is no life at all.
I don’t know if I truly ever had a relationship with God until having Anjali. I knew of God, but I didn’t really love Him and though I had been taught all about His work and the work of Jesus, for whatever reason it just did not settle with me. As I look back on my early years as an adult I can see how lost I actually was, drifting through life with no real purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of ambitions and goals, and I achieved most of them with hard work and dedication, but I never felt fulfilled–I always needed more of something but I did not know what. I guess I was not able to explain a higher being, or maybe I was frightened by the idea that someone else had influence in my life and that my destiny was not always up to me. I did not understand it, so I was afraid of it.
After having my first child I began to see the church as a community that could be a support system to my family, as well as a great way to teach humility and morality to my children. Again, my draw to the church was not a relationship with God, but rather the ways the church could benefit me. If this was God’s way of bringing me closer to him, I will never know and that’s okay. This path has lead me to where I am now and I am so grateful.
This year we are living with only what we can carry on our back, leaving behind all of our possessions and serving those in need around the world. This plan was put into our hearts by God, I am sure of that, and He has taken us on a journey that I could never have planned myself; He opened doors I did not even know existed. I continue to see how, at His hands, we are experiencing God’s love in people that live on the other side of the world. We are living our lives with God at the center, which is a complete change from 15 years ago, and I have never felt more alive, even with so little. I not only feel a stronger connection to God, but also a much deeper connection to the world as a whole. The world is so much smaller than I had previously believed and I feel like I am starting to see the world as one big family. We may live in different ways and in different parts of the world, but we all face the same challenges in our life (blessings, hardships, sin, grace, joy, grief, etc). This journey has taught me that we all are more similar than we appear and that we really are just one big family with God as our father.
Today I went to Bareilly with Katie and Anish to do the Christmas shopping for the boys on the mission. We hired a driver for the 2-3 hour commute and of course we had to stop for tea half way there (I had my tea in a cup made from a mud–for as behind India is with trash collection they are quite advanced with the ‘green’ movement–a totally biodegradable cup).
Once we got to Bareilly I realized how small Banbasa actually was; it has felt so big and so busy, but I guess I had no comparison. Bareilly is nothing like Banbasa. It is loud, busy, and filled with people. I am not sure that the pictures can capture the number of people there, but its the best I can do!
This was such a great experience, one that I was not prepared for but thoroughly enjoyed (well sort of). It was great that I was able to help Katie and Anish with the shopping and to get some done for our family. But as I was getting ready this morning I switched out my purse for my backpack (much more practical) and I forgot to put my migraine medication in it. A simple oversight that made the day quite interesting. With all of the noise and pollution, I found myself fighting off a migraine for most of the day. It left me feeling nauseous, which is not very pleasant around people that I don’t know in a city where I am completely out of place. I did my best to hide how horrible I was feeling but it finally got the best of me. As we were leaving the sports store where we purchased a ton of items for the older boys on the mission, I could not hold back any longer and the nausea won. I turned to Katie to ask her where I could go because I was going to get sick. She very casually turned to me and pointed to the ground and said, “they are already staring at you, just give them something to stare at!” I could not help but laugh inside as I got sick on the streets of Bareilly with people staring at me. There was nothing I could do. I am in a place with no garbage cans, no public bathrooms nearby, and definitely no bathrooms in the shops…It was a horrible feeling, but Katie’s statement was so true and funny that it made the whole situation much more bearable. These wonderful people I was with took great care of me. It just so happened that we were right next a pharmacy and Anish ran in to get me some anti-nausea tablets and some water, which was just what I needed. As usual, after getting sick, my migraine seems to subside enough and thankfully we were pretty much done shopping anyway. We ended up going for dinner at a shopping mall. I was able to eat a little bit before we drove home. We got home at 11:00 at night and after unloading all of the gifts I got into PJs and finally felt well enough to eat some of the food I brought home. It was definitely an eventful day and even with feeling as awful as I did, I had a really good time and am so glad I went.