One of the first decisions a storyteller makes is where to begin the story. Do I begin at the beginning and trace the events chronologically? That might make the story easier to follow. Do I begin in the middle, drawing you quickly into the action? Do I dance around the edges unfolding the back story and the forward action in concert? I want to take you with me. I want to immerse you in this India Story.
But I can't.
The story is too big to tell, too deep and wide to hold.
And so, He hid the pieces inside the people.
That we would reach for one another and become
~Michelle Winter, 2016
I entered into a long parade of stories invisible to me. I couldn't see the beginning. All I could do was reach out my hand and try to catch some shimmering confetti, pieces of Truth, as they flew by.
I missed much, but there were pieces of blue and green: women with gentle hands who offer kindness and healing; a girl who sets aside her need for rest to support her broken friends; women who have given up their lives to create a home and a family for the hurting.
There were pieces of red: men and women with fire in their eyes and hearts who have left their homes (some from other cities, some from other countries) to fight for justice and to rescue those who cannot fight.
There were pieces of orange: a feisty woman determined to pour herself out for the least of these; a quiet man hoping to change the world one person at a time.
And yellows, and golds: children who hold on to life and to one another, a middle aged woman reaching around the world to connect people who can be more effective together.
But, all that would come later. On the day we landed in India, we had been traveling for 36 hours and still had a drive ahead of us to the hotel. The streets were noisy, but the sounds organized themselves into music as we drove. There was heat, and breeze, colorful curbs and buses, the fog and stain of diesel, crowds, curry, lost luggage and a red alert for terrorist activity in the area.
This is my first day, the landing day:
And so, perhaps there is a beginning after all. This is the only story I can tell. It is my story of how I danced in the parade of love and compassion in India...if only for a few steps along the way.