Sitting IN THE AIRPORT terminal before boarding my first flight to India, I wrote down my goal for what I wanted to experience on my ten-week trip. I wanted to challenge myself to see the beauty in everything around me. I was traveling with a student group and was excited to learn more about the language and culture of India firsthand. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I'd seen how opening my thought to witness the good of God's creation had led to greater fulfillment and unanticipated discoveries.

From the moment I woke up in the hotel on my first morning in Delhi, I could hear the sounds of car horns and street vendors through the open window, and I felt inspired by how alive and full of opportunity the city seemed. I was drawn in by colorful fruit and flower stands we passed outside, women dressed in gorgeous patterns, and the expansive monuments. However, one concern our group had talked about was how to prayerfully address the extreme poverty that we saw in older, more run-down areas of the city.

I like to think about God as an unchangeable law of harmony that governs everyone, in spite of where they are or what situations they happen to be in. Since I believe everyone is governed by the law of God, good, I knew it was possible to see harmony in action. I tried not to get shaken by images of poverty, while still expressing compassion. I learned that taking a spiritual stand for each person's God-given identity is far from being dismissive of someone's practical needs. Seeing someone for who they really are spiritually is a worthwhile act. By viewing a person for the qualities they ate expressing and reflecting from God, such as joy, health, and enthusiasm, it's easier to cut through mental pictures of tattered clothing and harsh living conditions, to honor someone's dignity.

May 25, 2009

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