This article was originally published in the April 2017 edition of 605 Magazine.
It started calling to me a couple of years ago. And at first, I didn’t listen. In fact, I balked at the idea of ever -- I mean EVER -- traveling to India. Too extreme! I scolded myself. This is just another one of your crazy ideas like that time you tried to pretend you didn’t like bread. Move along, Self. Forget about India. And eat some bread why don’t ya.
But unlike some of my other wacky ideas of years past, my heart couldn’t seem to forget.
India just kept right on calling. A dear friend of mine had been before on a service trip and she encouraged me in my newfound interest in India. A man, from India, came and spoke at our church about his family in India and his story gripped my heart. During my son’s health scare last year, many of his doctors were from, yes, India. People would send me unprovoked, random articles about India. I started to crave Indian food. I was, or at least I felt like I was, being bombarded with all things India.
After a while, I sat up straight and started to pay attention. Why was India calling? It seemed so random considering the fact I never had any interest in visiting India prior to this time. And within a few months I seemingly got my answer: My same dear friend that had been to India before was going again on a service trip for 10 days and she was taking a group of girlfriends with her. Would I like to go? She asked.
Would I like to go? The question haunted me for weeks. And while my heart said an unequivocal “yes”, my mind and my circumstances said; “Girlfriend! Have you lost your dang mind?” We were, at the time, in the midst of selling our house, a building project, packing, moving, and generally just trying to stay afloat. I stay at home with my two small children and we have no other childcare in place so me being gone for 10 days just didn’t make sense. Not to mention, I had no desire to leave my kids or my husband for that long. So, I listened to my mind and my circumstances. No, I can’t go to India, I settled with myself. Maybe some other time.
But then came an informational meeting about the trip and I weirdly found myself going. I reasoned that I would just go and listen to the mission of the trip. Just listen. But at the end of the meeting, I found a passion that started as a spark a couple of years ago was now raging into a full-blown inferno. I left the meeting with an inflamed purpose and found my heart saying, How could I NOT go?
But there were so many obstacles to overcome. How would I pay for it? Who would watch my kids? Who would get our house ready for showings in my absence? Who would make house-building decisions? Isn’t it selfish to leave my family for that long? And, what was my husband going to say? I fully anticipated him trying to talk me out of it. If I’m honest, a part of me wanted him to do that very thing. Then, I would be off the hook; I would have an excuse. But instead, he looked me straight in the eye and said:
“GO. Follow your passion. It’s never going to be a good time, so if not now, when?”
I cried. Because I knew he was right. We are not guaranteed tomorrow and if we don’t go where we are called today, follow our passions today, will we ever?
So, I dusted off my passport. I joined five other brave women – some of them young mothers as well – and we made the journey (understatement of the year) around the world to India. And all of those insurmountable circumstances? They melted away. In our absence, people rallied around our families; and my mother dropped everything and came and stayed with our children for a week. I missed my children so bad it hurt, but it opened up incredible conversations with my daughter and illustrated to her that our hearts, our compassion, and our purpose do not always stay contained within the doorframes of our comfortable home.
I’m saying all of this to say, Lord knows, not everyone is called to India. But yet we all have an “India” in our life; something that is calling us, lovingly nagging at us, gripping our hearts. Possibly something we have shelved because of life’s circumstances or impossibilities. I have so many of these things sitting on this proverbial shelf. But my pilgrimage to India taught me, among countless other beautiful life truths, when it comes to callings, passions, and purpose, we can’t afford to ignore these things any longer.
Because … if not now, when?