Monday, 7 May 2012

Shadows on the wall

I have just been putting up the wet clothes (at an unearthly hour) and have walked in and out of the children's room.

They are asleep.  Deeply so.  We had a full day what with meeting for church in the morning (Sheba went over to the JSK Centre to do her rounds with the two patients who are admitted).  Then lunch with everyone at church.  Then a prayer time and going out to meet people in their homes.  Then the gospel meeting at 6 PM.  Then cleaning and setting up for the VBS that starts later today.

It is wonderful to see them sleeping.  The miracle of sleep.  So calm.  And yet beneath the closed eyes refreshment looms.

Walking in from the miniscule balcony I saw the pattern of lights below on the wall - and I was taken back to my childhood days.

We spent many happy years growing up in a bungalow in Nana Chowk - on the compound of the John Wilson Education Society.  There were trees outside.  And our house jutted out into a busy street.  So all day - and most of the night - we heard traffic.  We felt traffic - the large double decker busses would sometimes cause the house to shake.

And at night the street lights probed their way into the windows.

Opposite me on the wall I could the the fantastic shapes made by the moving tree branches outside - their leaves weaving a tapestry of shapes.

But I did not like these shadows.  There were times when they seemed to show evil creatures.  I was actually quite scared of them at times.  Add to that my normal insomnia (something that at 43 still seems active - hence my tapping the keyboard at this hour) - and you have a young lad who would emerge and announce to his parents that he just could not sleep.

I don't recall whether I told my parents about the shapes - though I think I would have.

But I do remember Mum's statement that she often told me.

"He gives His beloved sleep"

A quote from one of the Psalms in the Bible.

Something I have remembered often.

I am not afraid of shadows or sounds anymore.  But I still need the assurance that I am not alone.

The men that Anil and I visited this afternoon told us that they believed in Jesus - but that their economic situation has not improved.  The subtle subtext is - 'so why continue believing in a god who does not seem to help.'  One of them said that when his wife and grown children are asleep at night, he lies awake, worrying about how he will get money to pay for the rent, for the 200 rs. that he promised his children...

"Its hard for poor people like us" he said as we sat in his garage, next to the hulk of a large ugly truck which he and his partner were stripping down and rebuilding.

We did not have an easy answer for our friend.  There is no small button to press and everything then turns out all right.  But we did share from what we learned in the Bible.  From Peter who had fished all night without success - and who after getting the large catch of fish did not jump around for joy - but rather understood his own deep fallen-ness.

As the dogs bark away outside, I know that I can sleep in peace.

Guten Abend, gute Nacht,
mit Rosen bedacht,
mit Näglein besteckt,
schlupf′ unter die Deck!

Morgen früh, wenns Gott will,
wirst du wieder geweckt.
Morgen früh, wenns Gott will,
wirst du wieder geweckt.

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