Sometimes it is enough to notice another man. This is probably the most important lesson I have learned in India.
I could not cope with the fact that we were so short in each place. In the morning here, in the afternoon there. Orphanages, school, professional activism centers for Muslims, services, community meetings, lessons in biblical school. Everywhere for a few hours. I felt like a Christian tourist. Although I prayed for people and saw how God touches them and heals. Although I spoke words of blessing over young women and I saw theirs eyes burning. Although I was talking about what God has done in my life. Although I spent time with children, hugged them, ate with them, allowed them to feed me with theirs little hands and to taught me how to eat without cutlery. Although I was there for them. And yet, I wanted to give more. And I decided without questionning that this more must mean one thing – to stay longer. The one impossible for me at that time.
This is because I make friends for a long time and thoroughly. Do you recognise the same in you? Or do you know someone who is like that? They tell me I do not speak much. They ask if something has happened. And I’m just getting used to the man and I live intensely in the inside before I start freely outside. That’s why falling into and out of orphanages and churches was a constant break-through for me and I felt guilty.
Until a certain meeting. It was in a school complex near Hyderabad. About a thousand pupils, of which over three hundred lived there because they did not have their own homes. We were a group of more than ten. We got two and went to class to love children – teaching their songs, organizing time, sharing sweets. Later it turned out that everyone, regardless of ideas, specialized in one thing – noticing the invisibles. Those children who did not participate in the games. Those who stood on the side, watching timidly. And contrarwise, they received the most of our embrace and attention. Those who could not reach for that themselves.
On that day after classess we spent time with Angel, an American who, along with her India husband, founded and runs the complex we were in.
“Do you think you come here for a few hours and that does not mean anything?” That next ones come and that also does not matter?” – she said, and I wanted so much to know why I would not answer yes such questions. – “I saw you coming to those who are standing behind and do not have the courage to join in the fun. I want to share some story with you. There used to be a boy here – always at the end, always hidden somewhere, always unnoticed. Once upon a time a group of missionaries arrived, just like you, for a few hours. During the classes that they led, he was standing on the side as usual. Still, someone came up to him and in one moment all the adult’s attention was focused on the boy. Years later he told me that this moment when someone noticed him changed everything. It was for this reason that he found himself determined not to give in despite his past. And many times with all sorts of challenges, years later, just this attention gave him strength. Do you know how important it is what you do?”
After this one story all my doubts disappeared. And all my activities, called too small by me, have become treasures.
Sometimes it is enough – one look into the eyes and one embrace – to save someone’s life. It can take about 10 seconds. Will we find so much time?
Sometimes it is not necessary to explain immediately that this is the Gospel. That we love, because He first loved us. Sometimes, the simplest thing is needed first.
After the meeting with Angel we were only with the children who lived on the spot. When they heard they could say goodbye to us, in a few seconds a wave of over three hundred kids flooded us. Suddenly I felt someone wrapped me around my waist. A girl stood before me. I saw her before that day, we exchanged smiles several times. Now she also smiled and rocked, wrapping my arms around my waist. At one point she became serious and called me with a hand. As I leaned over her she said: I will miss you. And I know she spoke the truth.