Friday, 5 December 2014

Till morning comes

As the candles are blown out and the nets are tucked in, something about the night surfaces the contemplative. I can't remember the last time my mind was unencumbered from thoughts that kept me awake. Somehow it's easier to lay sleepless and play through the images in my head, than it is to close my eyes and be carried somewhere over the rainbow. I'm filled with questions, figuring out answers to make sense of it all and fighting dragons that awaken in the silence.
The reality of my inadequacies feel so real, and the brokenness within and everything that surrounds renders me desperate for a grace that is closer that my own skin. I have to believe that beauty is more than just in blue-skies. It has to be more than just when things go right. I have to believe that transcendence is found both in the tears and the tranquil times. I'm holding to the truth that both the beauty and pain predicate the hope of all things new. I'm choosing to believe that both the dawn and the night bear witness to the goodness of the Sovereign.

Love led us to this part of the world where we've been surrounded with the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick we have seen. There was nothing that could prepare us for the life that would follow. Like a preamble to the story, all the pages we've lived so far has been a preparation for the present- from everywhere we've been and everything we've been through. Looking back at the journey from the slums of Calcutta to the leper colonies of Addis Ababa and elsewhere, this is the farthest our feet have followed. We came here not knowing anyone or having a place to stay, but full of belief for what was before. Holding onto the whispers and trusting in the undoing, in the early days we often found ourselves on the floor with tears on our face and our suitcases beside. In a place where only a few set out and even fewer stay, love keeps bringing us to a place where life is lived from our knees to serve the dying, the destitute and the Divine in disguise. 
I'm reminded how the cost is always worth it. The currency of our faith is surrender and it's paid for with our tears, scars and sacrifice. In a world that glories over convenience, it gets so easy to distance our lives from any form of discomfort, and forget that everything has a price. The older I get, I realize that even the things that come free in life- like grace, morning dew and mother tongue, are all tethered to the give and take. And just as it is in nature and the human-narrative, the more I let go, the more I have to live for. There's a reason why darkness comes before the dawn, there's a reason why the glassy-seas come after the storm. There's a reason why a pearl forming takes time, there's a reason why the first-breath is a cry. There's a reason why we have to loose our life to find what cannot be lost. Suffering keeps showing me the meaning of being alive and how nothing of worth comes without the cost.
So let my life be measured by the sweat on my brow, by the callouses on my knees, by the tears on my sleeves and the scars on my mind from all that I've seen. Although somedays I can't bear loving anymore children who have an expected expiry date, and somedays start like the last thing I can do is face the world (let alone face myself in the mirror), I'm reminded that love has nothing to do within the domain of feelings and everything to do with the dawning of faith.

I'm filled with hope for the finality of what will be, even amidst the reality of what I see. Even when the need is too overwhelming to bear, we keep praying to not shy away from the need because it keeps drawing us to our knees. Not that our life will be the promise of an answer or a future or a fix for the problems we see- instead all that we are is but a prayer to live life on earth as it is in Heaven. To live emptied out for the sake of love, until there's nothing left of us- realizing that there is no decrease, but only the fullness of Love Himself in us. For the dichotomy of grace- the greater the loss, the sweeter the Cross because there is no sacrifice which compares to the gain and the life of the world to come.

We've found freedom in accepting that our life is much more about beginnings and in-betweens. In the face of our own sufficiencies and the suffering that surrounds us, sometimes we wish we could be everywhere for everyone at every time. But love keeps reminding us that the Kingdom is less about human-effort and more like a seed. And being faithful in the little liberates us from the futility and self-righteousness that leads us to think that the finality was ours to fix. Most days we wrestle with the smallness and mediocrity of it all, instead of embracing the manifest destiny that our existence is 'making a difference'. We have nothing to show for it. How does sitting with someone, sharing in their suffering and giving them a cup of water classify as a core value? How can kneeling beside a child crying in pain and rubbing their head to comfort them be measured on an impact report? We don't have an NGO or a hospital-wing to our name. We don't have a development model and we haven't raised any dead people. We rise everyday the same- nameless, faceless and placeless looking for Jesus in disguise. Against a world measuring success by influence and its increase, wisdom whispers to us that love is marked by obedience, deference and faithfulness in the small things.
From everything we've seen to everywhere we've been, from the brokenness we've beheld to the hope we hold to, I can't understand life without the Light. I have to believe that our existence eclipses something much bigger than ourselves shining on the other side. Love has been carrying us into the dark of the night, the far & forgotten places, where no combination of pixels or phrases can help paint the picture. But in the midst of such suffering, we've also become witness to the power of belief, pushing through the darkness to live as children of the Light- till morning comes. No matter how dark and drawn out the night endures, it cannot push back the dawn. No matter where we are in the world, everyday our lives bear witness to the rising of the morning star and the turning of a new page. From the east to the west, it's always the light that leads us. The waiting is not in vain, and new mercies come with the morning- bleeding through the night and ushering the breaking of a new day to be alive. So let our love awaken the dawn. Let our love trumpet the dawning of a coming age where the sun does not set and the last shall be first.

I'm learning daily to life in the exchange- trust for my questions, beauty for the ashes, and grace instead of the gavel. Laying down my weapons for a wash-basin. Forgetting my dragons for the dawn. Forsaking the crown for a cross. Life is always being defined in the dissonance. I'm reminded that the defining times always happened in the rise and the fall, the push and the pull, the rest and the wrestle- than it did in the linear and the regular. Who we are is always being defined with every breath, every step and every response. It's more about the days when we can't get up out of bed, than the ones we jump off the mattress with manifest destiny. It's more about the times that don't go the way we want, rather than when everything happens as it should. It's more about the moments when we feel like we're a million pieces, than when we feel like a million bucks. It's more about the situations when we feel like the refuse of the world, than when we are one with the empire. Life is always being defined by who we are in the night- 
till morning comes.

Life and love and death are more tethered together than what I thought to have understood. In an age where the word "love" has become commercialized, profaned & prosaic and we've affixed it as an adjective to describe our latest pair of shoes, our favorite TV show, our grandmothers turkey stuffing (and everything in between), I'm restless for something different, something deeper. We can easily deduce love to a force, an affinity, an ideal, a principle, but I have to believe that it is more than the abstract. The provenance leads me to the Person of Love. And in my humanity I look to the teachings and life of Christ, which teaches me how to love and be loved. But I'm getting scared of what I'm starting to see because He is what love looks like. All these years, I've prayed about being emptied for love; but to really love like the Divine is beyond romance or rhetoric- and if I'm doing it right, it's something so ridiculous that I will be the fool of all friends. To really love like Jesus means that I have to take care of the stranger the same way I care for my spouse. That I actually have to love my foes the same way I love my family. If I was really loving like Jesus, there is no separation or difference or distance in my life that change my love. When I can love someone else as one of my own- that's the Cross. Now now, that's foolishness to say that you can love your nephew/niece the same way you love your son/daughter. It's foolishness to think that you want the best for your brother, more than wanting it for yourself. It's foolishness that you want to lay your life down for the homeless the same way you've vowed to for the one who shares your last name. But it's also foolishness to let your betrayer kiss you on the cheek and love him all the same. The wisdom of the Cross reminds me that more of myself and loving my neighbor can't coexist- that being born of love is the death of me. 

From the celestial to the skin, I'm reminded of salvation's parallel and ethereal truths in everything. The older I get, I'm learning to be more malleable than cynical of the simple reminders. I'm learning that it's more than just seeing everything through God, but also seeing God in everything. Even when I stare at the sun over the sub-Saharan, I realize that the same light which blinds my eyes at noon can be seen so beautifully down on the horizon in a few hours. And just as with the sun, it analogues the Gospel narrative how the same God I struggle to understand through the first part of my Bible (when I try to look square at Him), now can be seen so beautifully with colors radiating into the sky when the Light was born into poverty and came down to the horizon of our humanity. And the more I look at that sun and fix my eyes of the light, I'm left with a blinding radiance and my vision keeps casting a brilliance in the center of everywhere I look. So much so that I see the Son in everyone. I see the poor and the sick, the widow and the fatherless, the oppressed and the oppressor the same. There is a love that is more powerful than the noon and there is a hope that is nearer than the night. Even if darkness and suffering covers us till morning comes, we are all moving closer to a dawn that's already come.


  1. Beautiful Jobes. As always.

  2. Came with a tired heart and leaving with the strength of a hopeful one.

  3. Awesome Post!
    I also like it very much.
    This is so awesome post that you make,I think that your article will be helpful for us.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this article.

    Vashikaran for Love

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