Giving Thanks

Looking around its hard to tell its Thanksgiving.  No leaves are changing.  There’s no chill in the air.  Everyone is still going to work and school.  The post is still running.  There’s no talk of turkey or pumpkin pie.

When I woke up it just didn’t feel like Thanksgiving should feel.  I started my day off with some Chipati and peanut butter, a lukewarm bucket shower, and a walk through the slum.  All throughout the day my mind kept shifting back and for between what should be happening…my former “normal”, and the life that I am currently living. 

I can only think of a small handful of moments where I wished I was somewhere else.  Like when I spotted a rat under my bed on the train, or when I just couldn’t handle another person inquiring “Hello, where are you from?” or asking me if I wanted to take a picture with their child.  Moments where I would’ve given anything to blend in and not feel like a total outsider.  In tiny increments I think I felt some of that desire today; to be around the normal, the familiar, and to be able to eat and say and do what I want to do.  Needless to say, in that moment, the last thing I wanted to do was take a 20 minute walk to World Vision, exposing myself to all of the things I haven’t been able to change since being here.

But God doesn’t really work like that, at least not in my world.

Surprisingly today was filled with many tiny moments of great joy.  At World Vision I got to show two of the staff women how to use photo booth and we had a blast making silly faces and using warped effects.  I got scared by a rat while making a video of our slum walk with Aleena.  I spent time talking with one of the security women and learned some new Tamil words.  And at the end of the day I got to make a batch of No-Bake Cookies and watch my new friend next door try them for the first time

When I woke up this morning it didn’t feel like Thanksgiving.  So many people in my life are halfway across the world gathering around the table together, eating and celebrating the ways God has blessed them, but sitting here now, on my bed, under a bug net, in the stifling heat of India, I realize that this was a pretty great way to spend a day thanking a God who is working here in small, simple ways.  

It didn’t look like the normal I am used to, but today was a Thanksgiving that was filled with sacred moments that will forever hold a place in my heart.

Ashley Sider