Friday, April 6, 2012

First Impressions

I don't know what I imagined Nepal would be like.  I underestimated the Himalayan Mountains.  I realize -- much to my chagrin... again -- that my ethnocentric attitudes are deeply embedded.  It is unnerving to bring my Western mindset to a foreign culture only to find that my schemas don't translate into their way of life or their belief systems.  Again and again, I am humbled to learn just how much I don't know about the world and how very much I have to learn about loving people -- really, truly loving people.  The kind of love that refuses to "fix" and "rescue" but just. loves.  Without any strings attached.  Oh!  How my own children would love for me to learn to love them without the relentless lectures and "in your face" pride that says "you're doing it all wrong... here let me show you the right way to do that."  How do I know it's the right way?  Oh, Lord!  Help me learn to listen!  Help me learn to learn!

We started our day today with a walk on a trail behind the Beine's house.  Dave gave great insights into history and culture along the way.  It's a tremendous blessing to visit a place with someone who is knowledgeable about that place.  Not just knowledgeable... but someone who truly cares about and loves the people who live there.  Quite inspiring, actually! 

After our morning walk, us adults sat down for breakfast: "Nitty Gritty" (an oatmeal/Cream of Wheat/Oat Bran sort of cereal with a texture closely resembling a bowl of cooked barley) and toast.  The children have all connected with the naturalness of cousins reuniting; and so they occupied themselves until time to go on "balloon rounds" at the Tansen Mission Hospital.

Balloon rounds entailed a cart full of balloons and stuffed animals to give to each child on the pediatric floor to cheer them up and offer distraction from their illness.  It's refreshing to enter a hospital and simply love on people without all the rigamarole of background checks and applications and whatnot in order to be granted entrance.  (Thank goodness we can love our neighbors next door and on our street without that, right?!  Though, I'm not discrediting the validity of checking into a person's character before letting them "serve" as I know a person's heart can be dark.)  It was inspiring to see the level of professional medical care at the hospital, care delivered by a staff that loves deeply, intensely.  These patients are not just numbers or random names on a list or more insurance claims.  The doctors and nurses and other personnel have made deliberate decisions to work or serve there; decisions accompanied by sacrifice and a passion for loving people without worldly gain.

After visiting all those precious babies and children and smiling and smiling and smiling, (because a smile says "I love you" in every language), while bowing with my hands together and greeting, "Namaste" (pronounced nah-mah-stay), we walked back to the house, a little later than expected, (more about that later), for Tea Time.  Mmmmm... Chi Tea and all of us together to listen to Dave read the book, At the Foot of the Snows by David E. Watters!

Our ragamuffin group finished our tea and tromped off on the narrow Himalayan Mountain trails to visit the market in town.  The shopping goal of all these boys-becoming-men?  Hm.  Well, for knives, of course!  Authentic Khukuri knives used by the Gurkha Soldiers!  This mama totally felt like a fifth wheel on this little venture...  {sigh}  Already, they've mentioned they're looking forward to having Grandpa Whitworth teach them how to sharpen and shine their knives.  I'm looking foward to the stories of wisdom and insight my dad will share with the boys while teaching them stewardship and responsibility!

We returned to the house and ate a traditional lunch of Dal Baat (I'm almost positive I spelled that wrong) which consists of rice and vegetables... and is delicious!  Kimberly came home from the hospital to join us and we all got to process the morning... and listen to Kimberly share about some of the medical cases at the hospital.

Now the children and their teacher, Ethan, and LeRoy are on the hillside playing ball in a field while I take a few minutes to share a blissful morning.  Blissful.  And humbling.  Two of my children have already mentioned that they could see themselves living here someday.  That alone makes my heart smile and smile! 

Oh!  That our family would learn to love the way Jesus loves!  That we would learn to chase after Eternity!  That we would learn to see the world through God's eyes!  That the things of this world would fade as we live to give ourselves away!  That we would embrace the moments on this Kingdom Journey that will transform us! 

Hugs from Nepal.

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