Friday, August 3

Day and Night

God in the Yard: Week Eight
"Morning never seemed that astonishing until I started going outside at night... My senses woke to things that day, in her bustle and brilliance, had eclipsed.  A variation of experience highlighted contrasts, deepening the separate experiences of sunup and sundown.  One informed the other.  In these changing contexts I felt like a different person, more raw and attuned at night, more bold and curious by day.  I became more comfortable trying on these different selves." -- L.L. Barkat

This has been my India experience.  Life in the U.S. being day and life in India being night for so many reasons.  Night is something you just move through, even closing your eyes so that it goes faster.  Night is simply where you wait for the day.  But I had to walk through the night, eyes wide open.  And there were details in the night that I took note of.  When I did, night looked a little different.  And day grew that much brighter.

The boy in the day care with the scabs on his face was still a boy who liked to play Legos.  The family in the hot one-room apartment where we painted next door still nuzzled their baby and kept her cool, asleep in just her diaper. The boys in the childrens' home without a family still buzzed and played and bounced exactly the way my boys do.  We don't play and nuzzle and buzz because we live in the light of day; we do these things even with night all around us.  Because our human spirit knows that too much night will never grow a thing.

We in the day like to live only in the day.  We push away the night.  It either frightens or bores us.  But those who live in the night know how to live in both.  They are tenaciously unafraid. 

I have seen the night... sickly water, putrid trash heap, choking stench, hopeless shrine, burning body, beggers at every idle window, t.b. patient leaving life, fly-covered woman lying in the roundabout, babies asleep on concrete, men peeing in the field outside the train, long judging stares, police with machine guns, pushing...

But I also saw the day peeking through...families, beautiful careful dress, simplicity, pragmitism, conserving energy, finding solutions, old men worried I'll trip, helpful police, thorough tour guide, the pastor's wife who offered me chai, the children who want their photo with you, the people of God's church in India, showing them the iphone photos of snow, sensibility. 

And home, I suspect will feel brighter, less weighty.  Night informs day.  My night self encourages my day self to be bold and confident, to look for the beauty among the ashes.  And my day self can look at the night with less sorrow.  Both belong to God's rhythm.  He is everywhere still.

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