Sunday, April 1, 2012

One of those looks again...

      The other day when we were on our way to the Vandalore Leper Colony we had to stop for a minute to pick up some medical supplies.  We waited in the car while the nurses went shopping for about 20 minutes.  The kids and I were playing in the back of the van and out of the corner of our eyes we saw a man sitting on the curb behind us.

He looked downtrodden.  He looked tired.  He looked like he was just waiting for someone to recognize his worth.  We could all feel his worth as the car went silent.  We have seen a great deal of poverty here, but for some reason this man stood out.  During the rare silence in our car I took a moment to look at the faces of my children.  When they see first hand those who are truly in need there is a look that surfaces from their inner most self.  It stems from the gift that God gave all of us to want to lift burdens and feel sorrow when someone is suffering. 

So much emotion comes back as I look at these photos.  Matt got out of the car and gave him some money.  I wish I could replay a video for all of you to look at the scene that transpired. I apologize for some of the quality of the pictures-they were taken through a dusty car window.

 His face is unforgettable.
He wasn't begging.  There was no sign asking for money.  But when Matt handed him some Rupies his face brightened.  I honestly think that more of his glow came because someone showed genuine love and concern for him.  I was surprised he was even out in the city.  Lepers do not usually leave their colonies.  So, for someone to come near him and help him was, I am sure, a different experience for him. 
His simple, but deep joy was palpable.  He was so incredibly grateful for what we gave him. 
It was a moving experience for all of us.  I still think of him.  I still regret that we couldn't stay longer to help him get back home and make sure he had a place to stay, food to eat, and just make sure he was taken care of.  
There is something in these poverty stricken leprosy patients.  It is hard to explain it properly.  They have hopeless lives, but exude such gratitude for the smallest of gestures.  Whenever we do the smallest little thing for them their faces light up being a natural reflection of their countenances.  How can people with such hardships exude such heartfelt happiness and I dare say contentment?  I have found it over and over again.  Do they wish they didn't have leprosy? Yes, I am sure that they would prefer it that way, but with this disease that continues to cause problems even though they have been cured, they are not hardened or grumpy or mean.  It is absolutely amazing to me. 
When the nurses came back we were on our way to the Vandalore Leper Colony.  This is what we were welcomed with.

They were jumping up and down and making faces at us.  They were edible.  These kids steal my heart over and over again. The one funny thing about India is they all want a picture taken of them.  Then they go get all of their relatives and want individual pictures taken of everyone, family pictures, aunts and uncles, sisters etc.  They never get photos of themselves, so I have a lot of printing to do when I get home for them.  Here are some of the classics...

Aren't they all so cute?  I have about 200 more :) 
One of the sweetest things I have seen on this trip was of a young married man carrying his grandmother everywhere she needed to go.

He was so gentle and tender with her.  I hope my children will always show such tenderness to their grandparents.  He is a man among men.  He epitomizes the type of person the Savior wants us to be like. 

 This lady was in such pain as her wounds were being cleaned.  My heart just ached for her.  I looked down and Sam had instinctively reached out for her hand and held on to it until the cleaning was done to comfort her.
I love seeing those innate responses in my children.  It melts a mother's heart.

 This is how the Indians tell you they love you.  They grab your cheek and then kiss their fingers. So cute.  My computer is going to die, so I'll post the rest of this post tomorrow morning.