Day 2 of the Bangalore trip – Signs of growth

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The College felt closed in my spirit.., The buildings seem too near in my spirit although outwardly they present a refreshing sight..United Theological college, Miller’s road … I stare out of the window of the room that we are at the moment lodging in. We have rented out three rooms and everybody seems to be responding to the experience in their own unique way.., My father eager to indulge the ambiance, calm and serenity felt the comfy cushion of his bed..but his mind was plotting relaxing work that could offer meaning, connectivity and relational connect to his path, he was someone who wanted a deeper meaning, a fuller overview of meaningful life engagements and always wished to engage in his passion for work, meaningful rest and faith. I wondered if I would have any supernatural experience on this trip, I saw the outline of an Angel’s wings in a stuffy room at an inn in Yercaud.., I saw a demonic spirit approach me in an invisible manner on a trip to Coorg…, as though to verify my sightings that both excited and confused me in the same degree the Lord revealed details of disturbing things about the places that we stayed in both to my mother and father in dreams. I was a young believer then.., not yet a warrior for the Lord.., but quite discerning of the world of the spirit that I could never escape no matter how hard I tried, but could also not fathom, perceive or discern to a level of clarity that could possibly speak of a gift or a calling in that area.

My sister and my cousin sister excitedly conversed in humorous lingo, constantly reverting to funny stories that they had always wanted to explore in another person’s presence.., my younger cousin sister will no doubt enjoy the company of my sister, My sister will no doubt feel the measure of her own self worth and proceed to grow in leaps and bounds into the womanhood that awaits her with dire expectations.. My mother checks her purse, sets her bags to the side, cleans the room and counsels my aunt in the same breath..My Aunt, a teacher has called her students and is chatting away to them about the nature of the trip thus far reciting the funny portions, explaining her shopping to do list and her plans.. I hear her asking them if they need something, My other aunt, my mother’s sister was a mixture of relief, nerves and worry.. She seems to immediately descend into a deep place of understanding and listened to my mother speak about Faith..I worry a lot like this aunt even though I rarely share what I feel to anybody. My Grandfather, a live 90 year old human experience of aging was excitedly moving about in a slow stroll, ever the Reverend.., he had stepped past the comfort zone of occupying one’s rooms and maybe settling in, and had instead crossed the invisible barrier of language and surface level non verbals and was mildly engaging the disinterested errand workers of the Ecumenical resource centre in gentleness and meekness… The Driver meanwhile gruff, and irate at not being included stormed away into the city just outside the gate of the college, where he would no doubt find the puff of a cigarette comforting and the plight of other people like him helpful. I feel sad about his plight, I remind myself to perhaps talk to him and ask him about his life at some point, I would have to pray since I also wished to evangelize to him in some degree. I wanted to break the boundaries that existed between the people who lived here. I was as usual reminded of the spiritual atmosphere of the place, and given a glimpse of the Christ’s depth here.., so many times work seemed to outweigh Christ driven efforts.

I hear the echo of familiar emotion in conversations in my mother tongue that seems to originate in rooms that are adjacent to mine from partially closed doors, but I find no comfort in them.. I can only feel a struggle to certain aesthetic sensations that are based more on dislike than anything else.., I seem to react to the thin paint of the walls that seem too light on the walls in the second floor, to the depressing tile colors of the floor in my room, to the newness of people who seem many echelons above me in personal style, intellect, ambition, power, assertiveness and cultural heritage.. I worried about the nasty condescension that the occupants of this city would throw my way when they would find out who I was.., I disliked weaknesses, vulnerability, helplessness etc… But it feels like Christ does His best work in such mock worthy human disappointments…But I find myself avoiding all such sensations, I am taking in too many things at once.., absorbing too many feels at the same time… I remember the low effort reception lady whose language seemed curt, disinterested and condescending even though she had a welcoming smile on her face.. Added to the fact that she was a Kannada lady poured more confusion to the raging inner fire.. I find myself feeling the contrast of the hip urban foody places where young people seemed to be assertive at and the appearance of the railway stations that felt inwardly ugly, filthy and putrid .., I try to focus on the American architecture, outer appearance that seems to soothe.., to the symbol of the Cross on transparent glass sliders that reaches deep into places in my human flesh that my mind can never ever comprehend.. To the presence of a Chapel and its silent call and cry.. to the gentle waving trees always friendly, welcoming and shy, to the still emptiness of a conference room where the wind seems to blow into.., to the sight of an eagle swooping in and picking up a twisted twig.., to the sound of my voice, to the wise acceptance of my father.., to his inner strength that knew the wrestle with the known, the unknown, the unpleasant, the unseen and the deliberately wicked. I needed to connect with the word of God soon, I was slowly and quite clearly losing my way both within me and outwardly in the outer world.

But as spiritually connected as I am..I wanted to test the waters, I refused to encounter a place with tools of non engagement.. I was not going to lose myself into my family who were with me, talk energetically with them and perhaps feed of their contentment.., I certainly was not going to command and exert my presence and escape the feeling of sinking tragedy of feeling like an alien.., I was not going to befriend people with charm and etiquette and escape the depressing sense of feeling incapable of making social adjustments.., I was going to test what a place could do to me if I encountered it as it was and not how people took it to be. I knew that part of the reason that I was feeling this way was because the spiritual man is never at peace with the wicked world and its glamorous banality. But I wish I had a proper schema to encounter places, a clear cognitive framework full of psychological insights, explanations and interpretations.., A sort of assertive energy that takes control of one’s inner emotions as it feels a new destination but sadly I don’t.., it takes time for a place to acquaint itself into my heart, my eyes, my mind, my soul, my spirit and my inner world.. I am only conscious of my powerful emotions in the beginning and strive in desperation to see past the conflict.. I must tell you that travel for the sake of it does me no good, I am not a fan of shopping, tourism and eternal drives in a claustrophobia inducing van that bumps, derails and makes one feel deeply deeply uncomfortable, but I do seem to enjoy the experience these days thanks fully to the wondrous touch of my Savior.., there were times in the past when I would turn rather nasty and bitter since my folks could not perceive or understand why I was so rattled, irate and cranky in new places.

For someone who has seldom acquainted himself to the memories of places in Bangalore, each place feels like a disjointed vein leading to a place that appears like the memory of a man suffering from schizophrenia, for a brief second clarity beckons but the madness rushes forth like a torrid tide and he is consumed once more by his delusions, his insanity and his gravity.. I feel like the ground beneath me is spinning, and I am thrown into a daze. There is a railway station close by to the college, there is an overhead bridge and a tunnel below.., two roads run the distance into meters and meters of high priced apartments, shops, departmental stores, fancy high gated houses of the rich, the affluent and the powerful, the complexion of the people here is one of those unfamiliar things even though in my part of the world there are fair skinned people.., but the body language changes here.., the behavior here is not raw, gravity oriented and engaging.., it is composed, detached, expressive and oblivious of other people.. It is a dramatic thing to encounter and slightly triggers my fear of comprehending the nature of the individuals here.. Fair skinned individuals occupy the roads, the stores and the eat outs.. I feel embarrassed in their stare, I feel like an unwelcome visitor.. I remember the hundreds of encounters with people from other states in my own town, and I remember being rude, dismissive and often times too voyeuristic of their awkwardness in my turf.., I remember the fellas poking fun at it, I don’t laugh at other people’s pain.., but I remember not doing anything about it either which in my eyes made me guilty as a man of God.., I am a sensitive person and care deeply about people being treated better than I was treated.. but I remember the inner impulses towards the culturally displaced and visiting, and I have often times not been mindful of the situation and have shown my impatience and frustration.., I start a process of deep repentance immediately, I vowed to never take any opportunity for granted again, and vow to myself to extend beyond my own capabilities.. Reflecting Christ’s love, kindness, warmth and friendship to a deeply confused world was being reinforced through these encounters. I find myself sensing the amount of effort necessary to treat everybody like you treated yourself.., it was mind boggling, overwhelming and frankly speaking frightening.., where would I get the energy..? What if I was in a bad mood..? What if I could not undo certain missed opportunities..? This was the real world, and I wanted to really engage the cultures of the world and befriend souls for Jesus.., I had to really start going out more and perhaps reading up on the subject.. but the most important thing was that I needed to spend loads and loads of time with my Savior if such a thing were even remotely possible for someone who is as mellow, observant and quite non assertive as me. I knew that part of my inability to connect with people from other cultures was because they would often times be really unfriendly and I took that rather personally in the past.., I had to make an effort.., changes don’t come from wishful thinking.

I have not connected my inner spirit with God.., so predictably I stutter and stumble like a sailor on a rocking ship assailed by mighty hungry waves in a dark fathomless night…. The inner ocean is more terrifying since you drown in the power of painful emotions of fear, anguish and hopelessness unless it dips itself into the infinite ocean of God with all its wonderful depth and healing… I feel an increase in anger.., an increase in lust.., an increase in boredom.., an increase in doubt.. an increase in fear.. an increase in reactions to my environment, surroundings, places… a deeper inability to perceive people in patience, peace and compassion.. and an overall increase in a form of stimulation that blocks one’s connectivity to the Holy Spirit who seems more and more like an impossibility at the moment… How strange is faith..? Yet how easy it becomes for a believer of Christ when he kneels in utter humility and brokenness and seeks to honestly speak out his utter neglect of the Lord and also to agonize of how utterly hopeless life as a whole feels without Christ.

I must confess an increase in feelings that made me believe that I can exist without prayer and careful Bible meditations.., I must confess a certain amount of spiritual pride that had been developing over the fact that I was called and had managed to withstand the trials, pitfalls and discouragements that people who were called by the Lord often encountered.. I must confess pride over a lot of things in my life.., pride over becoming blessed, favored, being more spiritually aware, being able to work with my gifts.., not reaching out to a friend who I believed was too focused on his problems.., I have been harboring a lot of pride as of late.., and I knew that it was wrong, useless, meaningless and not worth my time.., I needed to really spend time with the Lord and work that out.., I knew who I was before I met Christ.., someone who struggled to live, exist and breathe.., I was someone who messed up people’s lives with impulsive decisions.., I was disobedient to my parents.., I was not worth their financial investments in terms of my early education.., I made dumb mistakes.., I hurt people purposefully.., I was blunt about other people’s mistakes.., I was a shy, introverted, restless person who suffered panic attacks and had numerous bouts with mighty fears.., I could go on and on…, I don’t forget what Christ saved me from.., if He had not intervened as I pondered my suicide, I would not be alive today.., I don’t forget the deep remorse that I always carried around me as a kid, I felt that the weight of my parents was on me and I struggled to conform to the systems, organizations and the responsible attachments that everybody seemed to handle with relative ease.. I felt different, odd, rejected, inferior often, lonely, alienated.., like I said.., I can’t forget what Christ saved me from.., I have learned to see myself for who He has made me become.., but I remember my past, my bouts with depression that often lasted for months on end.., my messes.., I was saved.., redeemed, forgiven of sins that people never forgot and cleaned most importantly. I live as a new man today.., I live as someone who has escaped the devil and Hell within inches.., I live as someone who is completely dependent on Christ for everything.., and I mean everything.

After becoming a believer and follower of Christ I have tangibly felt a decrease in my imagination and its activities, it no longer turns itself on at will, it feels more and more like something invisible now. Perhaps I am closer to my dreams that I really don’t need them anymore.. I remember when I was young.., my imagination could create stories that I would live in.., I had an intense imagination and always day dreamt about fame, about reaching my dreams of becoming an elite basketball talent, of becoming a world class cricket closer.., of love and the girl that I could never forget, of becoming an actor with an Oscar.., of becoming a rap star who would go on to make platinum albums that sold millions and whose lyrics was deep, soulful, poetic and complex.., of becoming a director who created movies that changed people’s lives.., of becoming an artist who painted art that defined a generation.., of becoming a writer who exceeded his own proteges, personal heroes and muses.., my imagination made uninterested infatuation worthy females into girlfriends that I had to save heroically from crazy exes, psychopaths and villains.., my imagination helped me live the dreams that I could never achieve.., my imagination helped me become sane in a world that was too real, too uncomfortable and too blunt about its unkindness. I still write the occasional story or three, or ten or twenty depending upon the time of the day.., I am too engaged now.., I have so many responsibilities now.., I have to spend time with my Lord.., with my dog.., with the gym.., with ministry mates.., with possible recruits and possible converts.., with numerous unopened books that I am just itching to read and ideas aplenty.., with strategies that I hope to turn into reality in my next step.., with my camera for my personal channel.., with the camera for the ministry that I help and the show that airs all across Vellore and its 20 lakh people.., I spend time with a small bunch that I am trying to gather together so that we can fellowship well and worship our Maker.., I write a lot these days.., but if I am honest I want to be known as a writer and not as someone who is a weekend warrior.., I want to write about my experiences.., about my trials, about the life incidents that have shaped me to become the person that I am today.., I want to write and explore other things as well.. Novels, characters.., I am just bursting with the energy that becomes sentences in pages.., God has been too good to me.., I can go on and on about how He has held on to me even as I struggled to hold on to Him.., my journey with Him has not always been pleasant.., I’ve had my fair share of screwups, messes and stupid, stupid mistakes.., but I repent, and start all over again.., I am reminded of my calling.., to serve.., and I don’t mind being a weak, messed up vessel that has been cleansed by an Almighty Savior. What is that they say.., when the going gets tough.., the tough get going. I have miles to go and loads of people to reach.., God speed ahead.