Monday, November 19


So, this past week was the celebration of Diwali: the Indian festival of lights. I almost wish i'd had more of a residential view of the goings-on, because i've seen some really really beautiful images taken just this year all throughout India of the fireworks, the people, the colorful lanterns and candles and vermillion powders. But honestly, Delhi's not really safe on the main celebration day of Diwali because of all the firecrackers going off in the streets! So, we PMI'ers opted for safe nights in with our respective families. All i really got to experience of the holiday was the obnoxious bits... trying to carry on a conversation with someone proves extremely difficult when the crackers are going off constantly and so loudly you have to yell; and because the houses are so open here, the sheer amount of fireworks set off on that night alone fills the air with thick smoke that billows into your living rooms and sleeping areas. The air quality is and noise pollution are serious problems if you're not a partaker of the holiday enjoying all the festivities. Still, I got to see some really beautiful things: a fully lit Sikh temple in Old Delhi, our neighborhood bathed in brightly colored artificial lighting, the graciously quiet firecrackers that send up a wash of glitter - a fountain of fire. I didn't love the warzone that was Diwali, but i liked it.

you can notice the smoke beginning to cloud the air in the photo in the top right... 

the colors of India are quite a sight on a normal day,
but on Diwali, they're an experience in themselves. 

Another celebration I got to be a part of this week was the wedding of some of Praisey's friends. She used to work with the bride, and they invited her and me to be a part of their day.
 The ceremony was sweet and to the point, and the bride and groom were abundantly gracious and welcoming to me, a new face in their small congregation of dear friends. They didn't have an official paid photographer, so I got to step in and snap a few casual images. I was honored.

both groom and bride were welcomed down the aisle with congregational singing.

this is my beautiful companion of the day. also me in sunglasses and lipstick.  we got real girly, guys.

 This part of my journey is endlessly fascinating to me, as my feelings constantly surprise me and my job description continues to shapeshift. My hair is growing out. My preferences are developing. My strengths are emerging almost as quickly as my previously hidden shortcomings are being revealed. I'm doing surprisingly rewarding artistic work in design. I'm doing surprisingly rewarding artistic work in songwriting. I'm the lead singer in a band featured in a concert on December first to raise money and awareness for an AIDS orphanage. I love teaching English as a means to an end. 
I couldn't have anticipated any of these things.

Along with my job description, my desires have also shifted dramatically since coming to India. 
Firstly, I came here really wanting to give my poor numbered hairs a break from the abuse i've put them through, so i just thought, i'll take two years and just let it grow without coloring or cutting once, and with minimal product and damaging heat usage. But since being here, I feel like the blonde just makes me so other. It doesn't really hinder me in a lot of ways, but I'd be more comfortable inside of the culture if i had black hair. Part of me is considering a temporary dye job, but i'm scared my locks won't go back to my natural color without some more major damage, and i wouldn't love to keep dying them forever. Who knows, though... next week you may not recognize me ;)

Another desire that has changed in me is the desire to be understood. Now, I think in many ways this desire is hardwired in all of us. But I'm coming to the realization that no human heart can ever fully understand mine. My lessons, my passions, my woes, my tangle of emotions, and my inexplicable joys will never be truly shared or known by anyone else. This seems like a depressing truth, but when you live in it, it's unimaginably freeing. My expectations of others are so much more realistic when i make this lesson real in my thought process, and i'm free to love them as fellow broken people, instead of being disappointed by their inability to cater to my "needs". It's wonderful, learning how to unconditionally love. 

The last transformed desire I want to share with you is the desire to perform. This is really true for me in every sense of the word. What i've really learned, though, is that in application the opposite of performance is rest. Strength is needed for daily life, and you can get it in one of two ways: searching inside yourself and pouring out your lifesource, or taking it from somewhere else. The problem with looking inside myself for strength is that I'm limited - i always run out. The beauty of taking strength from elsewhere is that i have a direct link to the author of time, hope, and love; and He offers me His ability to cope with situations, understand the meaning of life, and help others. 
I have His aptitude at my fingertips. 
I'm finding myself really fulfilled as i make the transition from performance to rest. I honestly didn't know that my first step in my dealings with the Father should always be to rest in His Finished Work. Any work i have after that is irrelevant, because He has paid everything, and I have only to thank Him with a life well lived. This lesson - this Good News - has made all the difference in my life, my attitudes, my frustrations and my dreams. 

I think that's something to celebrate.

Love from Delhi, 
Julie: celebrating.

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