If you aren't in our little world, you may not know that as a part of our offseason adventures, both my and Stephen's parents came to visit us in Kolkata, India. I spent time there ten years ago, and had always wanted to return with my mom. Stephen's mom had always wanted to go and volunteer with Missions of Charity (Mother Teresa's organization), so we all made plans and met up in India.
Any nerves I had were soon calmed, and we welcomed them to the wildly overwhelming and beautifully chaotic city of Kolkata to begin our weeklong adventure together.
We made many memories that week, but there was one I will always hold dear.
It was our second day of volunteering. The morning had gone well, and we decided to spend the evening at Kalighat. Kalighat is know as Mother Teresa's first love. The home for the sick and dying. She believed everyone deserved to die with dignity, and this home was created to give people that opportunity.
The light sprinkles of rain at the beginning of our walk turned into a never ending downpour. We had attempted the short walk to the house, but were stopped quickly by the rivers that were forming on the sidewalks. Soaking wet, we decided there was no way we could make it to Kalighat.
After 20 minutes of contemplating, we made a run for home. As we ran through the streets and sidewalks, I was taken aback by the joy of the moment. All of us were running through Kolkata in the monsoon rain laughing and sullying all the way. Vendors and bystanders began cheering us on! It was such a surreal moment that ended with the longest shower of my life. We had run through knee high street rivers in India! Can you imagine what is in that water? All I can say is I scrubbed my body hard. We didn't serve that evening, but we did have a great laugh.
The next day, with no monsoon in sight, we made our second attempt. When I was here a decade ago, Kalighat was where I would go every evening. The walk was always special to me. The quiet of the hour, the activities around the nearby temple, the open public square with its colorful figures, and the beautiful neighborhood all combined to make for a rich experience.
As we entered Kalighat, the familiar medicine smell overwhelmed me and sparked so many memories. To walk back through these doors with loved ones by my side was so surreal. The boys went to their side and us girls to ours. I jumped right in to sitting with the women. Soon after arriving I was motioned to a woman who needed the bathroom, so I took her. It was back to the basics. We served dinner. Dad and I helped clean the dishes at the end. But mostly we were simply there with these beautiful people. It was so special to be serving in this way with my family. I was so impressed by them all. So caring and vulnerable, willing to be a servant. What beauty I was seeing from these people I love so much.
Before we left for the night, I took them to the rooftop to look out on the square . This was a tradition when I was here before. To be still for a moment and think upon the precious hours, and to watch the sunset. Then we moved on.
Our hearts were moved. I am so grateful for times such as these.