Thursday, 26 July 2012

A Map Pointing To Heaven

It took me many lost nights and a hurting soul to understand what I know about love, beauty, and the things that matter most. And the one thing I have discovered is that you don’t find love, it finds you; when you’re least expecting it. Beauty shines its way through the simplest things, like street children gathering bottles on a misty morning. Or the rain drops poring outside a tea stall in the middle of a forsaken land. And peace can be found hidden in the heart of every man. The creator left clues of his perfection in the positive things we see in the world today. As much as you would expect these to be found in elements of breath-taking awe, the language of simplicity can speak about true love, beauty, and the peace it creates. Simplicity comes like a map pointing up to heaven, and it will come to you whether you choose to accept it or not.
            I moved to India as a child and have since spent most of my life here. It took me a whole of 10 years in this country to realize that this is where I am meant to be for the rest of my life. Living here has taught me many things, some good and some bad. The message of simplicity struck me one morning when I was walking with a friend on the damp roads of Bihar, India. It had been raining the previous night and was still slightly drizzling when we went out for our walk. It was a beautiful overcast morning and the gentle rain gave the air a coat of freshness. We talked about psychology, literature, philosophy, and the rest of what two sixteen year old boys lost in a world of thought and space discuss on a morning like this.
            The realization hit me as we were walking past a couple of stalls selling fresh flowers to be used in the temple close by. I saw a young girl no older then 7 years old walk by carrying glass bottles to be sold that morning at the recycling shop. Time froze and everything stood still as I looked at the girl. Something about her, the way she seemed content, or almost happy as she gracefully walked by us. There was no sorrow in her eyes, most unexpected from a child of such a poor status who would rightfully be expected to show some form of grief. There was no coldness to her face, even though she had to wake up in the mornings to gather bottles to be sold, rather then get ready for school like most children of her age would. There was nothing negative at all about her. Instead, she was fully at peace with her circumstance. She was completely fine with her unfortunate situation, and the hardships of her life. The young girl carrying the glass bottles was beautiful creation of God. And as simple as she might appear to be to some, her simplicity is what spoke to me.
            The frozen moment of time broke loose and we continued walking. I was pondering everything I had just observed in that frozen split second when we came upon a tea stall. Nothing sounded better then a warm, sweetened cup of chai on this misty morning. Everything was calm as we sat in the cloud of smoke coming from the stove place in the little chai stall which you could hardly say was more then a hut like roof with a couple of benches underneath it. There were some jars containing homemade cookies selling for little more then 2 cents a piece, milk for the chai that would be prepared throughout the day, a metallic box containing the money to be made, a jar with tea leaves, and some cigarette packs laying loosely on the counter. It was a typical little chai shop similar to most of the others dotting every corner of the city.
            As I watched the tea stall owner work, it hit me again. It seemed like such a hideous job to wake up every morning at 6 am just to light a stove with charcoal and cow dung and fill it with hot coals. Although the job seemed terribly uninteresting, once again I saw the same face in the man that I saw in the little girl just moments before. The man, who I estimated to make no more then 100 rupees a day, had a sense of peace and contentment on his face. There was no sorrow, no pain, just peace. As I observed him move through his morning chores I realized what had been speaking to me all along. It was simplicity. I had never before found such things as beauty and peace in simplicity. I had never known how to enjoy the simple things in life until that morning, and I had never before realized how much was hidden behind the veil of simplicity. 
            Through sips of steaming chai and the cool raindrops gently falling by my feet I meditated on the things that had struck me so powerfully that morning. The chaste elements of life can have more power over a human being then all of world’s wonders put together. I didn’t make this discovery in the Magnificent Himalayan mountain range. I didn’t uncover the message of beauty and peace in the glorious Sahara dessert covered in with hills of golden sand. I didn’t find it on the beautiful beaches that I had traveled across in the tropical lands of Goa. I found it in a city, lying in the heart of India. A city forgotten by the world and time itself, where everything has remained untouched by development and the rapidly changing world of today.
            The morning continued on, and as we walked home the city began to awaken from its slumber. People were slowly filling the streets and the morning markets began to come alive. As common as the sunrise events might have seemed, and as regular as the activity around me appeared, I started to find a new beauty in it all. My outlook on life itself slowly started to change, and the beauty all around me began to take form. And I can say with great certainty, that morning was the most beautiful morning I had experienced in a very long time.



  1. Young Man, your story has touched my heart in ways words cannot express. Thank you for sharing this and renewing my faith in your generation. To have a heart and mind to see the world as you see it, and to know your love for Christ and to be open to serving Him wherever He leads, means much. You have ministered to me and I know if you keep up your writing, you will touch many others as well.

    God bless,
    Auntie Leslie