Vignettes Of An Old Lady
- By Evangelical Fellowship Of India
- Published 08/12/2010
Evangelical Fellowship Of India
The Evangelical Fellowship Of India exists to empower and mobilize the local Churches, Church related institutions and individual Christians for effective witness for Christ. The Evangelical Fellowship of India crosses cultural and geographical boundaries and links Indian Christians with a world wide Christian community. EFI has continued to grow in recent years. Some of our newer areas of work now include advocacy (Christian Legal Association-CLA) and the Evangelical Financial Accountability Council (EFAC). It was founded in 1951 as a national alliance of evangelical Christians and is a central network of evangelicals in India. The vision of EFI is to strengthen Churches to live out the Gospel in the complex context of India.
IT IS about three months that I started living in Mumbai as a paying guest with an elderly Maharashtrian family. In this time, my landlady and her reclusive husband have told me more about their lives than I perhaps have shared with them. And not just with them – but with any one – even with people who have been my friends for more than a quarter century.
And that makes me sad... that to realize that I was never able to be able to come to the point of being able to be vulnerable and open to even my closest friends and perhaps even family, who probably will know so little of of me. I wish I were different , but I will never be different and all most people will ever see of me will be the stern, external visage that God has given me and which with time can only get grimmer and glummer. But wait, this is not about me ... it is about my landlady.
It is only yesterday that I learnt that my landlady and her husband are a childless couple. Years ago, they wanted to have kids, but some thing went wrong and the doctor told them that they couldn't have kids. The lady ... a very progressive and forward thinking woman wanted to adopt , but the husband forbade it and that closed that chapter.
The landlady's husband can't hold down a job. Some time in the past he used to manage worker's canteens in factories but that was quite a while. These days, now and then he works at being a canteen manager, but not for long. The lady herself managed a beauty parlor for several years. When the parlor closed, she retained many of her loyal clients, and she now services them in their homes. Over time she hasn't picked up any new clients, but lost some and the family income became unstable. Eventually , they decided to rent out both their bed rooms to paying guests like me , choosing to sleep at nights in the living room. The income from the paying guests is currently the only guaranteed income the family has.
None of this need have been shared with me. Most days, I wake up, have a hurried breakfast and leave for work. I return back from work and settle down with my DVDs and books and my blogs. The brief conversations we have are over dinner which we eat squatting on the floor(no dining tables in the house). In this little time of talk, I have learnt all this and more. When i first set foot in this home, in the earliest days, my landlady told me that in welcoming me into her home, she was also welcoming me into her life and its various moments. At that time ,i had dismissed it as and polite rhetoric, but three months later, i realize my mistake.
i don't know how easy or difficult it is to share of yourself in this way, to share of your life and your experiences, your fears and your worries and many other things- not just in talk but also in walk because I have never done it and perhaps never will be able to do so. There are many, many area of life, where I wish my DNA was composed differently, that I was a different kind of person, -more warm, less forbidding and more open , but those things will perhaps never happen.
Every morning and every evening, I remind myself that with all my frailties , I am created in God's image and that I am one color in his rainbow, even if it is just gray. And then I turn to my frail, elderly land lady and in her weather beaten face that has seen so many autumns of pain and it is in her vulnerability and her openness and her frankness, that I see God's image painted in a thousand and more colors.
Evangelical Fellowship of India