I grew up in a time when exported goods in India were scarce to non-existent. There were no televisions. I cannot remember being able to find the latest hi-fi gear in any shop. I do not recall seeing recently released appliances, records, or well just about anything. Clothes were tailored made because that was they way you did it. You considered having your shoes made by the cobbler, because that is the way things had always been done. Meals were always prepared from scratch because ready made food products were not available. Life was, in contrast to today, simple, direct, and hands on.
At the time I thought I had moved to a different planet. Maybe I had. If I go to India today, especially the major cities, it is a cultural variation on many places in America. There are places of amazing sophistication and conveniences. There is also the contrast of people struggling to survive. America may hide it a little bit better, yet it is still fresh, raw, and painful for many people caught in the pit. In the “old days” things were different, especially in India.
When I think about my childhood I remember several things. I lived in a world of conversation, reading, and doing things with people. Kids played together, making up games of our own, creating languages, and reveling in relationships. Adults and kids talked, about life, current events, and the observations of the moment. We had less than today; life often seemed to have more.
When I look in the present I find simple clues to happiness. When people take what they have, realize values of compassion, equality, and mercy, life takes on more meaning, purpose, and peace. One finds in the simple things the great experiences of life.
When confronted with a person in need, Jesus “spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man's eyes.” (John 9.6) From this simple process of relying on God amazing things happen. Are there equivalent steps I can take today?
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