in my peripheral

Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come, thine will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Lately after I wake, before meals, during bus rides, or tours, or  discussions, I have found myself wanting to pray.  Unlike the quick tributes or recitations I could breeze through without second thought,  I want to speak with My Father.  I feel so strongly an urge to kneel down, clasp my hands, look upwards, and confide. I want to grasp the hands of the person closest to me, close my eyes, and share this wonderful, unexpected, slightly overwhelming charge of faith within me.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us

I cannot say for sure that I feel God here, but I feel closer to him. I am brightened by him when I sit on a bus ride and feel the energy of these budding friendships. I am inspired by his love when I hear stories of people who have abandoned comfort and dedicated their lives to the bettering of self and of others. I am taught by him when I realize that circumstance has become secondary to connection with the people I have met. Most importantly, I am blessed by him, because despite my conviction, I have not yet awoken from the dream that travelling, much less to India,  has been so for long.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

I am comforted by the glimpses of faith I see. Our various welcomes, featuring bindis, smiles, claps and drums, have felt holy. The way I hold hands with the stranger beside me to pray before a meal in a language I cannot understand, rivals church. I overheard Suresh-bei singing on a bus ride, sweetly, to keep us entertained, and I knew it was a religious song because of the way it conveyed his joy and offered his spirit.

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory

Jayesh Patel said something I chuckled at when I heard, but am incredibly glad I wrote down. He said: remove an ‘O’ from good, and you get God; that is what God is, the search for goodness. All the reflectiveness, self-evaluation, and steps towards empathy that have occurred during this trip are making me reevaluate my attempts at goodness. I have experienced the happiness that comes from community, faith, and service, and therefore, I have glimpsed my God, who has always been in my peripheral.

Forever and ever, amen.