Yesterday some of the volunteers traveled to the same colony that we had visited the day before. I got to see my good friend Ravi Chandran again, but he was soon surrounded by many of our volunteers- he loves taking silly pictures with us. I joined one of the volunteers in talking to another man on the other side of the room. Then Ravi asked some of the other girls to sing & I turned around to listen. Ravi Chandran saw me & his face just lit up & he got all excited, calling me over & telling me to sing my "verry verry goodt" song again. It was very sweet.
I'd been thinking a bit about some other songs I could have picked to sing the day before if I'd been a bit more prepared, so I asked if I could sing a new song for him. He responded with a funny head shake that means "okay" here in India, so I sang "Lead, Kindly Light," which is one of my favorite hymns.
When I finished, he said, "That is a Jesus song, yes?" I told him it was. He then told me that he loved Jesus, too, & asked if we would sing more Jesus songs. Soon our whole group was singing - "Come Thou Fount," "I Am a Child of God," "I Like to Look for Rainbows," (it was raining, so that was pretty sweet) & "A Child's Prayer." It was an incredible experience for all of us, & I'm pretty sure our eyes were as wet as the pavement outside after the first few hymns.
After we sang "A Child's Prayer," Ravi took my hand & asked me to tell him what it meant, so I knelt down in front of him & tried to explain as well as I could. I told him that it was a song that children sing that teaches that God loves everyone equally, even the smallest child. He just closed his eyes & smiled & nodded, then began to pray in Tamil. I felt the most incredible pure spirit... words can't even come close to describing that feeling, but it made me realize, yet again, that our Father in Heaven truly does love His children, all of the world.
We then sang "Abide with Me, Tis Eventide," & if anything, the spirit in that small hospital ward in India only grew stronger. Just before it was time to leave, we sang "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again."
I have never been more touched by that song. A powerful spirit of unity & love flooded the room. I never had fully appreciated the lyrics, but the line "til we meet at Jesus' feet" took on an entirely new meaning to me - I've spent the last 2 weeks working with people who live most of their lives as beggars, but before Christ, we're all beggars. Each one of us needs His mercy equally, & yet He loves all of us. It doesn't matter if we're rich or poor, whether we have great health or leprosy, whether we live in the USA or India. Christ looks beyond all that the world sees & sees our hearts - the LOVE in that thought just amazes me.
Someday I hope I can meet my dear friend Ravi Chandran again at the feet of my Savior - I only hope that at that time my heart can be as full of love, happiness, & gratitude as his. I came to India to teach - or so I thought. It seems like I've done nothing but learn from these incredible people.
Ravi Chandran with Jennie & me on our first trip to Badalampuram. He was supposed to pull a funny face, too.