I'd been in India for half a week with my yoga tribe serving at Homes of Hope Orphanage. The culture, the natives, the food, the colors, and life all are so vibrant. I cherish the memories of my all too short trip to India. One day I will go back, bring Asha (where her name will be ubiquitous) and show her the beautiful offering that watered my soul in such a desperate season.
Surprise (not a surprise) I kept a journal during my time and recorded daily the stories, experiences, and people I was graced to meet. I also logged through the Beatitudes, and each day asked Jesus to reveal the Trinity's wildness, elegance, and delight through the lens of that particular scripture.
In some of my recent ponderings and projects, I traced my steps back to this beautiful day in India through one specific journal recording.
Here I invite you in on the concepts of our attempts to often buy our redemption, barter for our brokenness, fix it, or work towards wholeness with deeds.
As my journal entry starts, "May I never forget the teacup. The one that was exchanged, I tried to buy back the broken and stained one, and I was given the unblemished cup for free."
Let's go back to Kerala, India Circa January 1, 2015.
On that day, I asked the kind man pouring my chai tea, "How much is this cup?" I held in my hand, a stained and chipped porcelain cup with a beautiful floral design on it. It was tiny and unique, and I wanted it. He gazed back at me, very puzzled, and he replied, "I cannot sell you this cup, it is broken." In my politest, yet stubborn manner, I told him I am okay with it's tarnish, and I'd like to buy it. He bobbled his head, turned around, and went into his tea house.
I was not quite sure what his intent was ducking quickly into the house. Within minutes he returned with a new teacup, that was unbroken, spotless and beautiful. He handed it to me, and said, "Take this one," I asked how much he wanted me to pay him, his replay, "It's a gift, no payment needed." Utterly baffled, I thanked him serval times for his generosity. I will likely never see that man again, and I do not remember his name, but his smiling face is an imprint in my memory. To this day, the teacup sits above my desk. It is a reminder that a gift is never bought but always given.
The beatitude I was studying that day was, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6.
Okay so as you know, I've been in a weird spot with my faith journey, lots of questions, sorting through and I wish I could use a pretty bow, to cover my pain and be done. But, that is not the way through the loss of a ministry, revocation of a calling, relationship heartbreak, and complete reorientation towards God.
In my stumbling back to faith, learning I've muffled the kindness of Jesus and the mystery of the trinity. My perception has been fogged by human let downs, disordered attachment with my family, deep betrayal, trauma, baggage, and more baggage.
Like in this teacup experience, I've tried to work my way back, prove to God I'm worthy through sacrifice, deeds, and merits. Historically I felt this was the only way I could relate to the Trinity was through "doing something" for the sake of the kingdom. In my twisted thinking, I believed I could equal out my brokeness with good works. I've learned we cannot buy our redemption. The extraordinary exchange is the mystery of restoration offered in the gift of relationship with the three (Father, Son, and Spirit).
In revisiting the teacup story, I am reminded that the best graces in life are the surprising and spirited gifts given by the kind Father.
I am wondering what broken teacups are you striving to earn?
And what spotless gifts are right in front of your eyes?
Can you accept the gift and stop trying to earn the wayward path forward?
Lots of Love,