Harold M. Abrahams: If I can’t win, I won’t run!
Sybil Gordon: If you don’t run, you can’t win.
--Chariots of Fire
I keep getting short extensions, a couple of weeks, a few days more in India until “the next hearing,” and the waiting is agonizing. I feel the rush of adrenaline leading up to the day, and try to steady myself, try to remain completely ready, focused, and willing to accept whatever may happen. I experience the temporary relief that comes when danger passes for the moment. I am hopeful of victory but also aware that things may not turn out the way I want. God may have another plan. I am on a tightrope, holding in one hand my desire to win this case, and in the other, the knowledge that this may be our time to leave. This waiting to see what God wants in our lives is more difficult than I dreamed.
Yes, this could well be a precedent-setting case for all OCIs (Overseas Citizens of India), upholding our rights to a government that is willing to arbitrarily deport its people. It could also be that this is our time to leave and that this particular fight, and the fight to free children from prostitution, and the fight for justice, will be handed off like a baton in a race to others, who are waiting, eager and expectant to run the next leg.
I met such a couple today, at an ancient church (Church of Southern India) overlooking the sea in the heart of Chennai. Husband and wife, both Indian advocates, spent two years in the US and just returned a few days ago. Called to come back to India to live and work for justice, they move to Delhi soon, hoping to work in the Supreme Court of India. I felt a rush of hope and trust as I looked into their steady eyes and focused hearts. They are taking the baton; they are ready to run.
The photograph above is an old picture of my parents and me as a little girl (on the left) in a team of Indians and Westerners together in Calcutta forty-three years ago. There are so many who have run the race before us in previous laps under circumstances more difficult than I have ever known.
I have long felt this nudging, tugging, persistent whisper, a well-kept secret. People all over this nation are poised to run this race. Many have already started. They will do it better. Times are changing. This is their country, their seventy languages, their systems, and their injustices. There are millions of people with finances, a belief, and a hundred good causes. As they discover their collective will, they will be the ones to change their nation.
Perhaps the tide is turning, where each one is challenged from the safety of their homes, into the brothels to rescue, boldly signing their names at police stations as witnesses to crimes too horrific to describe. Perhaps there will be a movement out of church pews into communities and neighborhoods that need good news, not just preaching, but practicing. This is my prayer.
I confess a certain numbness has taken hold, an inability for my brain to accept more potential eventualities and possibilities. Last Thursday when I saw the advocates come back from court saying that the hearing had been delayed yet again, I honestly didn’t feel anything at all. I wasn’t elated I had been given a few more days in India. I wasn’t sad that things weren’t concluded. I stopped being able to process information. I suspect there is a degree to which I was (am) in shock, a deer in the headlights.
On Friday I was shopping in Chennai with a new friend, focusing on bright Indian cotton kurtas instead of the endless litigation, when a call came from home that our water pumps had malfunctioned. Our young friend who was house-sitting for us was unable to turn off the overflowing water. With the drought we have experienced this year, water loss like this is grave. In a matter of seconds, I went from being calm and collected to experiencing intense pain around my heart, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Half an hour later I was in the emergency room, where the doctor ran an EKG. Everything checked out fine, and I realized I had experienced an anxiety attack.
I want to live the truth of the words, “We walk by faith and not by sight. We do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” What a dichotomy! What a dual existence. On the surface, this sounds like a bit of spiritual schizophrenia. Delve a little deeper, and it is the doctrine of hope. I want to know this; I want to live it. I want it to be the truth of my daily walk, my daily choice. I am not there yet.