Wednesday, November 14


I just want to be honest with you.
Living here in the aftermath of the novelty of India -
it's hard.

I'll apologize as a disclaimer to any native Indian reading this post; I know some of you follow my bloggings, so please know that this post is not an effort to disparage your culture. Instead, please read it with the knowledge of my great heart to understand and respect your culture as i approach it from the perspective of someone with an extremely limited ability to truly grasp its nuances.
I love India,
 I just don't get it yet.

I feel like i'm constantly messing up - i'm not hospitable enough or sensitive or quiet enough. My clothes don't fit quite right, and they certainly aren't colorful enough. My music doesn't have enough embellishments; or trills; or excitement. My dinner is too early in the evening, and it doesn't include enough rice. There are so many ways that i still need to learn to be Julie in India.
i think the biggest thing is that nothing is intuitive anymore. There is an immense amount of observation and focus involved in surviving here without offending anyone everyone. I'm something of a fixture in their lives, so they expect me to be more than a giggling blundering blonde mess, which got me by for two months the last time i was here.
Now, two months have come and gone, so i really ought to be offering water to people who visit me and giving diwali gifts and understanding which 'no' means "no" and which 'no' means "please keep asking me", and cooking rice.  

I'm very aware of the presence of these shortcomings in my behavior.
But here's the truth:
There's no way for me to be an Indian.

All I can ever be is an American girl with a deep love for India, and a basic understanding of the customs and expectations that come with the territory. I know that i need to be okay with that, rest in the grace offered me by my Father and trust Him to protect my mistakes and be the One [yes, the only one] who understands my heart. All I can do is exert my best effort and afterward convey as Paul did, "It is a very small thing that i should be judged by you, or any human court".

I think it's becoming important for me to truly implement the realism of the fact that I gave up more comforts when i left America than just the ones i already find superfluous. I gave up the values i was raised in, the people who know my background, the way i structure my days and weeks, the luxury of friendship as i know it. Though i may not have initially done it intentionally, i have made the decision to live here in the in-between. some days it's rewarding and exciting. some days it's uncomfortable. But as Heather keeps reminding me, the beauty of feeling so acutely that India is not home lies in the transitional understanding that nowhere on this earth will my soul truly feel at home.  I am ever a wandering foreign soul longing for the peace and rest of heaven.

Today I'm living in thankfulness for the wealth of treasure found in discomfort, and for the cultural questions that force me to cling to the Word of Truth.

Love from Delhi,
Julie the foreigner.

1 comment:

  1. the beautiful thing is that you would never have achieved these realizations if you hadn't allowed Jesus enough room to bring them out of your lack of comfort.

    much of what you are saying is not only encouraging, but deeply realistic. i can share a shadow of your re-tellings when i reflect on my time in Detroit.

    we - Laura and I - will be praying that you continue to grow in the Lord, and that as you continue to trust him, he will continue to shape your desires (PS 37:4-5) and guide your actions. you are an encouragement and model to us! let us know how we can support further.