Everyday in Imphal I find myself traveling past the palace. It is a mere shadow of what it used to be, however it still stands tall. I wonder what it would have been like to live and be part of the family that calls this home when they were at peak of their power. Even now, through the glory days are past it would be incredible to be a member of the best that society has to offer in this region; a member of the King’s family, part of the royal household, and heir that might yet again realize position and standing in society.
A friend of mine was part of that family. She called it home for decades. Schooling, functions, and her place were assured as long as her life existed. In our brief conversations it is clear that the life was good. Adulthood brought the best finishing schools the country had to offer. Clothes, experiences, and opportunities came easily. The atmosphere sounds idyllic.
As I look at the before and after there are two keys. She fell in love with a man and with the God that we all share. Both decisions intertwined and changed life forever. On the day of her marriage life turned upside down. Her new family was her only family. Precious items from the first life vanished in a fire expressing public displeasure. Her lost was cast with an uncertain future.
I searched her voice, looking for any regrets or a sense of loss only to find hope and exuberance with life today and in the future. I watch her actions, wondering if anger, frustration, or any obsessions lingered. I found a person walking through life, living in the presence of each moment, wanting to live and reflect the truth she has found in the Divine.
I wonder what my decision would have been. I hope that I could say the same thing that her life testified of to me. “It’s better to live humbly among the poor than to live it up among the rich and famous.” (Proverbs 16.19)