Sunday, December 2

The Cultural Current

"Better is one day in your courts
than thousands elsewhere."

i haven't updated in quite some time -- i'm going to blame it on the fact that right after thanksgiving, my computer crashed and my internet fizzled out, and then on tuesday my wallet was stolen. I've been busy trying to resolve those issues, and i'm two for three so far... I'm updating today from a borrowed laptop because mine is still giving me trouble.
Because i don't have my computer, i also don't have photoshop available to me to convert my pictures into usable files - so i'm getting very backed up! I've been to two gloriously colorful and ceremonious Hindu weddings, and when i get a chance to edit there will be lovely, lovely pictures.

Yesterday was the concert that we have been practicing for for over a month. I heard from multiple people that it was going to be a real professional production, so because of my three months of experience instead of expecting a real professional production, i prepared myself for India to transform that definition in a way i couldn't possibly imagine beforehand.
I was glad i did that.
We arrived for the 2pm soundcheck and the stage was about halfway set up. The four of us in our band sat and waited for everything to be ready, and chatted amongst ourselves. While we waited I just watched everything coming together. I've noticed here that there are often too many people assigned to one task, and yesterday was no exception. It results in one person doing the work, two people pointing at him and barking opposing suggestions, and three or four standing with their weight on one leg and one hand on their chin. This fabulous cultural method allows a drumset to take 35 minutes to set up - incorrectly. (yes, i timed them.)
It seems to me like there would be enough for everyone to work on when you're three hours behind schedule for a "professional production", but apparently I'm wrong on that, since there were workers gazing, lounging, and smoking throughout the setup. One guy was more interested in what i was doing than what he was being paid to do, and just stood across the arena (in a cuter sweater than me, by the way) staring at me intently with deep, black eyes.
On the ground in front of the stage setup were three or four men and some wood. One grabbed a hammer and started deconstructing whatever structure it had once been fashioned into. I thought they were just getting the wood out of the way, or that maybe they needed one board to stabilize something - but then he pulled out the nails. As the reality set in that yes, they were taking apart pieces of wood to create something completely new that was necessary for the concert which was starting in right around an hour, i began raising my eyebrows and shaking my head. it was too much. i turned suddenly and asked our drummer Siddharth, "WHAT are they BUILDING?" i burst out laughing, and didn't even try to stop myself. I laughed harder than i have laughed in a very long time.
"You should put this in your blog," Siddharth said after chuckling with me. "A professional concert with a three hours late soundcheck, a guy in a sparkly sweater, and these guys building... that." He smiled, understanding my incredulity, and finished with "that would be good."

हिंदुस्तान है |
This is India.

The concert went smoothly on the whole, and the Good News was shared. We enjoyed our time together with friends, and I believe that God was glorified. It was a great opportunity, and one I never expected to have. I'm thankful for the platform from which to proclaim Truth, and the opportunity to work with the talented guys who formed the band.
Regardless, the situation was very indicative of my larger experience with Delhi.
I've learned not to take anything very seriously anymore, and to smile as India sweeps you along in its own way. I'm caught in the cultural current...
'what to do?'
Now seems a relevant time to include a quote that i've been holding onto since the journey over here.
On the plane from Dallas to London, the first movie that played was "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". It's a movie about senior citizens who move to India and their respective methods of coping with culture shock. Regrettably i fell asleep in the middle of it, but before i did i heard Judi Dench narrating over a clip of herself buying vegetables from a subjiwalla,
"...but gradually you realize it's like a wave: resist, and you'll be knocked over; but dive in, and you'll come out the other side."
I have spent three months, and will undoubtedly spend the rest of my traveling years, living and learning this poignant truth.

Last Sunday we sang the song Better is One Day. As the reality of India sets in, there are things that I long for in my home. But as we sang this song from my past, for the first time my heart understood its lesson. Better is one day drawing near to the throneroom of my gracious Father with confidence than one thousand comfortable American days. Better anywhere He uses me than anywhere that is easy for me. Better grace than comfort. Better Him than anything. To know Him is to know true contentment, rest, and peace. To know Him is to have the key to successfully diving into the cultural current.

I'm still praying i'll come out the other side!

Love from one day in Delhi,
julie forsaking a thousand days elsewhere.

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