I feel like a mess of knowledge, conviction, and desire. I feel like I’m choking on it. Or drowning in it. Or lost in it, like children get lost in a corn maze because it’s all too far over their heads and there are so many ways to turn. I’m not sure I can sort it out for you – put it into neat, aesthetic lines, make it reasonable. Because it’s not reasonable, after all, this mess of knowledge, conviction, and desire.
See, India is a lot like I thought it would be. That is, it’s beautiful and it’s intricate and it’s vibrant and fast & slow and blinding and I’m in love with it. And it’s also not what I thought it would be. That is, it’s not as harsh yet much harsher, not as needy and yet more so, and it’s more varied and it’s more huge than I ever could have fathomed – and I do mean fathom in the etymological sense of the word. As in, I do mean that I can’t measure its hugeness with any measure any sailor ever owned. It’s the hugeness of it all that’s really getting to me these days the most, I guess.
Yes, the hugeness of what 60,000,000 deaf really is. The hugeness of how many people won’t have any language or if they do will have no education in it or if they do have education in it will not have sufficient education. Yeah, this afternoon I paced on the back porch with the mountains towering above me and the tall, thin flowers waving gently beside the lush green orchard (a common thing here for a backyard) and I felt as if I were standing on top of those mountains looking over India with my mouth open and gaping seeing so much to be done and not knowing where to start. But worse than that, feeling alone. Feeling alone in the sense that I feel like I’m the only one trying. And I’m only one.
This isn’t completely true, of course. I am not only one because I have so many amazing people supporting me at home and I am not alone because I have an amazingly wonderful family I’m staying with here. And I’m not alone because I know there are men and women translating the Word into some Indian sign languages for those who do sign and there are some schools out there, after all. But I look at how huge this is and I look at how few are doing something about it and the only word I have to describe how I feel is one I learned in Sign: Two hands side by side at my stomach, one squeezing and wrenching the air – the sign for grief. Because I feel grieved to know that this harvest is so plentiful and the laborers are so few.
And I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what exactly it is I’d do if I stayed here – which is something I can’t help praying about when I have this grieving, standing-on-the-mountain-top-gaping feeling. I’m not sure what I can do. And I feel like a beggar on the streets with dark clothes to hide the dirt and yellowed teeth, begging for these children that aren’t even mine. Begging any and everyone with any resources, with any wisdom, with any experience or knowledge or sheer willpower to come and help them.
Because they need help. And all I have is a mess of knowledge, conviction, and desire.