Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stop and smell the curry

Today I want to give gratitude for the richness of life. The last few days were filled with crazy activity, all of it good.

  1. India Day Celebration in Boston (more on this below)
  2. Many opportunities to pray for people, including deep conversations and inspiring results
  3. A wonderful lunch with two spiritually minded girlfriends
  4. Nice opportunities to use my editing and writing skills—I even worked on my novel
  5. The weather here in New England finally cooled off :)
  6. A special hour with a Sunday School student

I am quite proud of myself for India Day. My daughter had joined a dance troupe with her Indian friend, and had spent hours learning this complicated ethnic routine with the other girls. But on our way in to Boston, it RAINED. I don’t mean a little shower, but thunder, lightning, massive drops, drenching rain.

But we kept driving! And this is so not like me, to stay on an adventure when things get uncomfortable. Usually I’m the first to turn back—I can make a very logical case for the sensible, snug course of action. But on we drove, my daughter, her friend, her boyfriend, and me.

When we got into the city, we found a great parking spot almost instantly, even though the area around the celebration was blocked off. It was still pouring although very hot out, and we had only one umbrella for the four of us. My daughter said it would be okay if I didn’t stay, but I knew she really wanted me to see this dance. So again, very out of character, I jumped out of the car and said, Let’s go!

The start of the show was delayed until the rain let up a little, so we had plenty of time to walk around, getting soaked, peering at booths about India, smelling curry, finding the rest of the dance troupe, admiring the costumes of the other performers. The event celebrated Indian Independence Day, when the British pulled out back in the 1947. There were some speeches, and just a wonderful community feeling where everyone seemed related somehow. Not literally, but culturally.

The show started. After about seven of the thirty-something acts, though, the rain strengthened again, complete with lightning behind the Hatch Shell and thunder over the music. Finally, the organizers could see that we were all huddled under umbrella-shaped lightning rods, so they thanked us for coming and told us to go home. My daughter’s friend’s parents invited us back to their house so we could see the dance with at least the two of them. We were still soaking by the time we got back to Framingham, but watching the dance in the cozy living room had its own charm. The girls were beautiful.

So why am I proud? Because the evening did NOT go as planned, yet I was able to go with it. Early on, I just turned off my plan-o-meter, and appreciated being with my daughter. I couldn’t do anything to change the situation, and ordinarily this would have stressed me out and made me pretty cranky. But instead I just stayed in the moment and experienced this entirely out-of-the-box thing. Because there was nothing I could do, I had the time to just love what I was doing. To feel the rain, see the smiles, smell the curry. And be with my girl, a few days before she leaves for college.

It occurs to me that what we experience is a choice. The unexpected doesn’t have to throw us, we can go with it. I don’t know if I could turn off the plan-o-meter every day, but perhaps I should do it more often. For how else would God be able to surprise me like this?

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 8/16/2005 04:15:00 PM, Blogger Laura said...

from moppo:

Just wanted to point out that Tom Friedman in his latest book "The world is flat" suggests that Y2K should be a national holiday in India, "a second Indian Independence Day in addition to August 15." This is because the dot-com boom caused an excessive amount of fiber optic cable to be laid between the US and India and the the dot-com bust made the use of these lines so cheap that India could do all the outsourcing it now does.

He quotes a guy who spent some time in India: "Y2K should be called Indian Inter-dependence Day, because it was India's ability to collaborate with Western companies...." that enabled the unprecedented prosperity the country now enjoys.

Liked reading about your new level of sponataneity!

(check out his site at www.tosto.com)

At 8/16/2005 10:38:00 PM, Blogger Rev. Veronika Birken said...

Dear Laura,
How I feel with you! I'd be much inclined to turn back too. Yet, how many times have I 'prayed' my way forward instead, just like you did.
Today this quote from A Course in Miracles fits in so well with your experience:

It takes great learning to understand that all things,
events, encounters and circumstances
are helpful.

Love, Veronika

At 8/18/2005 01:55:00 AM, Blogger karen gsteiger said...

I'm glad to see the harsh elements didn't dampen your morale! Most of the time when I'm out and about, if I've decided that I'm going to have fun that night, I'll have fun no matter what. But if I'm in a bit of a mood, it's hard to loosen up. Good for you for going with the flow!

I wish I were at an Indian festival right now. I could really use a samosa. But I'm trying to think thin for the reunion (cliche, I know), so I'm trying to curb the insomnia snacking!



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