sábado, 25 de octubre de 2014

My Living Guru

Libby and Enzo have been enjoying a week of resting from all their rest. On Monday, my morning didn't start so well since Libby woke up in a very cranky mood. When she is in a cranky mood, she cries very often and also wants me to carry her for everything. Anyway, long story short, we were running late for school, and I needed to go downstairs to ask Sugirda if her driver could give us a ride to school when Nikil was ready (Nikil goes to the same school) because it was raining. 

But before asking,  I checked on my cell phone to see what time it was. Oh, the sweet news from Libby's teacher:  School has been canceled today due to heavy rain.

SWEEEEEEET!!!, I told Libby. I was -seriously- so excited. I wanted to be with her the whole day. I thought it was awesome that we would be able to spend the day in, just cuddling and doing my BSF homework, drinking tea, and eating biscuits. On Tuesday she didn't have to school anyway since we go to BSF, and why not? She also had Diwali break Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. So we had a whole week to enjoy our mother-daughter, mother-son, brother-sister bliss...

Of course after an hour of being with both of them... I made coffee, and took a long breath :)

Nena wearing her uniform

Nothing much has happened this week, tough. It has been raining a lot so we cannot even get out. Libby is getting better and better at riding her scooter. Enzo is a very sweet boy. He is talking much more than before. He is also very polite. He says please, and thank you, without me having to ask him. The other day we took Libby to school, and then we went to the doctor so that he could have his typhoid vaccine. You never know when you can get sick, I guess. His pediatrician recommended it when he turned two, and so he got it.

Riding scooter

When he got the vaccine he cried a little bit. And I really mean I little bit. Like three seconds. Then it was over. Libby would cry, and cry, and cry. Enzo didn't. I can see the whole girl drama, I guess. So he really deserved ma, ma, ma :) We were supposed to eat the ice cream before picking up Libby from school, but it was raining again, plus it took me like three hours to go to the hospital and get back. I had to go up to talk to the doctor, then the doctor gave me a prescription for the vaccine. Then I went down to the pharmacy to buy it, plus the syringe. I was in such a good mood, because I was spending time with Enzo on my own.

Sharing the reward
Enjoying his reward

That was until I was about to pay with a 500 rupee bill and the lady said she didn't have any change. Oh, great... So I call Kannadasan to ask him if he has any change. I needed 170 rupees - less than three dollars for a vaccine. And I didn't bring change. Kannadasan somehow says he only has a 500 bill, too. So I guess the lady took compassion on the white lady, and she gave me change. At least now I know better. So when we came back to pick Libby up, we spend like thirty minutes in the car while Enzo took a nap. Kannadsan is saving up for his wedding. He says he wants a wife with a good heart, more than beauty on the outside. I tell him I'm going to pray for that. He says thank you.

We also talked about some of his beliefs...

Since I've been here, I'm trying to make sense of it all. Several people now have told me Indians here will never accept me as their true friend. I am finding out that there is an abysm between us - a cultural one. I will always be a foreigner, and will never be considered one of their own, no matter how long I could live here. Not that I want to be considered one of them -exactly them- because I am me, and I like who I am. I am not Indian. I know that. I don't want to be Indian. I just want to be friends, good friends with them. More than the regular chit chat you get everywhere, you know. It's difficult to be friends with somebody. I guess it's even more difficult to be friends with somebody from another culture.


Then again, I really like the people. And some of them seem to like me. Sudha came the other day with Karthik, her son, and they didn't let me cook for them. They said they had just come to be with us. They wanted to enjoy their time with us. Karthik is so very mature for his 28 years. Sudha listens most of the time, as she doesn't speak English very well. That's why Karthik always comes with his mom. But he said he feels like he has known us for such a very long time, like if we were family. They brought me some food on Diwali. They didn't have to, but they did. I gave them some cookies I bought since I had no idea what to give them. Love is enough, Karthik said. I can't seem to believe they would want to take advantage of me. It would be a very long con.

I've also read that among castes, the lowest castes are "untouchable". The higher castes won't even associate with them. So far as to separate themselves from things they touch, or things they eat. And get this. I, as a Western, am even lower in their eyes than the lowest of their lowest caste. The reasons? Might be that I eat beef, and pork. Who knows? It sucks if all this is true, but I'm still hoping is not. They are so polite, tough, they won't tell you to your face. But it would really, really suck if on the inside this is what they think of us.

Libby at church

I also understand -or I'm trying- where they might be coming from. You know what I mean? Like the other day I met a Muslim couple at the mall, and the wife and I have been texting each other back and forth. Her children were very sweet, very polite. Was the guy carrying a bomb to blow himself up? I doubt it. But this is what people or most people think of Muslims when they see the news. At least in the US. Or take Emerson and me for example. For the last seven years we had been living in the US trying to do things "right" in hopes of getting to stay there if possible. We would like to. That's actually why we are in India now. But the average American, I'm sure, is thinking we Mexicans are a bunch of people with no work, and illegally living int their country. Thanks to the news again.  So I can see why Indians would think whatever it is they're actually thinking.

Which takes me to my original point. Kannadasan shared with me some things about Hinduism. And I don't really know if this is actually what he meant as our communication is very, very limited. But he shared about the many lives that he may live or has lived. He also told me he is not a bad man. He doesn't think of himself as a sinner. This is where the West meets the East... which is actually super funny since Christianity is not a Western religion. Whatever...

Enzo at church

- Good person. Good heart. Good character...
- Sure, Kannadasan. I'm a good person, too. Sometimes. But other times, I want to do wrong. 
- No. Good character. 
- Are you telling me you have never lied? Or lust? Or coveted?
- Lust? No understanding...
- Never mind... What about doing wrong? What happens if you do wrong?
- No wrong. My god, good way.
- So you are not what I would call a sinner. I am sinner. Kannadasan, do you sin? Do you do wrong things?
- No, no sinner. Good character. 
- So what about karma? Don't you pay for something? 
- Oh, yes. I pay. Wrong doing, I pay. [He is almost happy]. Bad karma. Good doing, good karma.
- Jesus paid for me.
- No. I pay.
- Well, I guess that's fair...

Cool glasses. Not even hers :)

So, as I read more, the concept of sin in Hinduism is totally different - if not non-existent. It is free of guilt, fear and punishment. Hindus think they are good in nature. They clean themselves from it, like if it were dirt. The opposite from the Christian view, where no matter what you do, you cannot really get rid of it. I tried, even before I was a Christian, and I never could. You can pretend is not there, but it always hunted me. In Hinduism,  however, no matter what you do, you are an extension of the Creator, who I think is Brahma. So calling them sinners is like, denying their divine nature. You are as you think. You think you are sinner, you identify with the sin. You think you're god, then you become god.

So when Kannadasan told me he pays, I was pleasantly surprised. I don't agree with what he believes, but I like Kannadasan. It's not difficult to like a guy who drives you around, and who entertains your children at the store while you buy groceries. He even plays with them. He is a good man. I have never said he is not a good man. Most people are good people. But most people are also mean. You cannot be good 100% of your time.

Playing in the rain
(with Kannadasan)

But there is the reality to wanting to approach God, or a god. For some people anyhow. Atheists would disagree. For the rest of us, if such entity exists, it has to be perfect, doesn't it? The god has to be bigger and mightier than any human being. You want a powerful god. I know I do. Why the hell would I trust a god or would even want its protection if such god cannot demonstrate more power than the one I already have?

Fine, I think I'm god, then I can be a god. Let's go there... In my thirty years of experience I've been far from that. I've tried to change myself on many different aspects of my life. I've tried to control many outcomes. People in my family still died. I was still bullied at school. I suffer. I still have struggles. So, as a god, I suck, I guess. I, as the maker of my own destiny, have failed. Relentlessly.

Again, I'm not questioning Hinduism or anything. I'm just trying to make sense even of my own beliefs. Lately, it feels like I want to make so much sense of the culture that I'm living in, that I just don't even know what the heck is going on. Every Hindu is a different world. And I really want to become part of their world. I want to get to know them, not judge them. Not that I have abandoned my beliefs. But when you see Kannadasan telling you that he is fine with whatever happens in his life because he knows he is getting what he deserves (good or bad), it makes you think. It made me think, and also smile, and also cry. Not in front of him, of course.

Enzo swinging

If my Entity is not real, then who cares about what happens to me. I'm so freaking invested in following The Lord Jesus (I've been advised to call Him that), that for me, there's no way back. So if The Lord Jesus is a fake, screw me. Fine, I can live with that. If Kannadasan's Entity is not real, then who knows? He will keep reincarnating over and over. If it is real, tough, then kudos to Kannadasan. He will live his many lives reincarnating until he cleans himself from all his impurities, pays for his own bad karma, and goes to his god. That's what he said. His god doesn't let him sin or do wrong. He guides him on the good way. Always. And no matter what, you always go to the god at the end of the many lives. Hindus are never going to judge my theology as incorrect because for them everything is a manifestation of God. There are many ways to God. So we are all going to the same place.

Ready for the nais (dogs)

But what if my Entity is real? The Entity I have chosen to follow says He loves ALL people. He chose a man, and out of that man, He wanted to create a nation that would tell everybody about that love. My Entity has very clearly stated that He is not like me. He made me, but I am in NO WAY able to approach Him by my own efforts. He made clear that THE WAY to Him is His Son, The Lord Jesus. My God is so perfect, and mighty and powerful that He does not live in temples built by human hands. He is not served by human hands as if needs it. At the same time, He is not so far away from us. I don't have to second guess the way to Him. I can approach Him on His terms. And if I do, He welcomes me. I do not have to be afraid anymore. I have a perfect Father in Him. Yes, I deserve the punishment. Nobody is saying I don't. But my Father took it all on His very own Son.

I don't have to live many lives for my Entity is merciful. He has the power to eliminate my suffering out of His love for me, and He chooses to do it. As I try to understand karma, reincarnation is there...

Doing homework

You die, you reincarnate in another life. No guarantees it will be flesh as a human being. It could be a dog, a cow, a bird, a worm. Karma has no compassion. People have to experience the full consequences of their actions. No real forgiveness. You better be good or else... But what if you are not? No matter how many good deeds you do, you are still subject to the bad karma. Always.

In my mind, even thought the law of karma makes fair sense, it also doesn't. I want a perfect, mighty God, don't I? I've got it. He is fair. And He is just. Yes, I do deserve to pay for my karma. And my punishment is death. That's it. Death as in being separated from God's presence forever.  But My God is also all-knowing. He knows that if He gave me a thousand lives to live, I would always mess up. I would always screw up because I'm broken inside. I would mess up because I'm human, and I'm not a god. I am not perfect.

And so my God took care of business Himself. Enough non-sense with my karma. "You will never be able to pay for your own bad karma, Karla. So I will pay for it myself", He said.

While karma said, "You deserve it", my perfect living guru said, "I love you, and I'm going to rescue you from it."

My one monkey

And so God came to Earth. He lived a perfect life as the Lord Jesus. He only did good karma. Never, not only once, did He do something wrong. Then, Lord Jesus died on a cross. My bad karma's punishment was to die. But Lord Jesus died in my place. After being dead for three days in a cave, He came back to life again. He came back from the dead, in the same body. The SAME BODY. No reincarnation.

Lord Jesus was victorious over death, proving Himself to be more powerful than the Law of Karma. After his resurrection (coming back to life in the same body), He ascended into heaven. And He is alive today. The same power that brought Him back from the dead is the same power I have as his disciple. He lives in me. As I follow Him, I'm not subject to the law of karma anymore.

It is for freedom that the Lord Jesus has set me free.

By His Spirit I am able to choose love over hate, joy over sadness, peace over worry, patience over frustration, kindness over harshness, goodness over evil, faithfulness over disloyalty, gentleness over meanness, self-control over instability... and I could go on, and on, and on...

I guess...

He doesn't want me a slave of anything, but of Him. His love. And for His love, and by His love, I am free to serve him, and do my good deeds. Not because I have to, but because I want to. And by His Spirit in me, I am able to walk in the right way. Not because I am this great good person. No. I need Him daily. But He is always with me, guiding me. And God, who is a man, and has a name... God, the great I AM, Yahweh... God doesn't give me what I deserve anymore.

Stay tuned for more of my own logical approaches to my own faith, as I might get together with my Muslim friend :)

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