If…then 

My belly is full of love. Love made up of rice and chicken and abundant genorosity. We sat around in a circle, everyone sharing what they have brought…I am invited into this circle of hospitality…today and many days past. It is a perfect communion, bread broken and given, shared around everyone pressing the others to take more.  

A light breeze is blowing ticking the heavy handstitched curtains and bringing a little refreshment for those sleeping off the rice coma after lunch. This is sacred space. This is our Sari Bari, we work and then we rest side by side until we must rise to work again.

These women taught me everything there is to know about generosity and grace. They embody it without even maybe knowing how profoundly their lives and the way they love with them have changed my own.

Many years ago, I read Isaiah 58 and clung for life to the “if…then” promises it holds. If you pour yourselves out for the hungry, satisfy the needs of the oppressed…then…then you will be like a well watered garden…the your light will rise and the night will become like noonday. If…then.

If you set the prisoner we free, if you feed the hungry…then…

“If…then” is very common in the Bengali language. Bengali is fraught with relative-correlatives. A thing of frustration for a straight talking girl like me. And yet the poetry and song of the language is because of the “if…then.” I don’t know it’s origins. I wonder if there is some foundation in karma. “If…then.”

Still it’s not unfamiliar to find these “if…then” statements in scripture. If you give water..then you will never be thirsty. If you give all you have to the poor…then. If you welcome the stranger….then. If you pour yourself out…then…you will receive 100 fold.

All these “if’s” are an invitation to the grace that comes with the “then.” The receiving of the most abundant grace. It’s easy to count the cost of the “if’s” and impossible to count the gifts that come with the “then.”

I made few tiny steps towards the “if’s” many years ago, hoping and believing in the “then….” Undoubtedly, a stumbling forward toward those impossible “then’s.”

And today here I sit amongst these women, these generous givers of good food and abundant grace. If your pour your self out for the oppressed,  then….you will be like a well watered garden. Belly and heart full today, I feel like a well watered garden. Just a little taste of “then” from seeking to pursue that impossible “if” such a long long time ago.

To the glorious then…

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