Good Morning CEM!

On October 10, 2011, in Life, Personal, by Chris

editor’s note – sorry for the tardiness of my post! There have been a lot of power outages in Andhra Pradesh due to a coal strike and the internet has been pretty spotty!

It’s just after 5am on Monday here at CEM, and call to prayer from the mosque nearby cut quietly through the heavy morning air. The place is already a buzz of activity as the children get ready for the day.


Even this early in the morning, you can’t sit for long without drawing attention from the children wondering what you are doing. The visitors from America are a source of constant fascination for them and a welcome diversion from the normal routine. Already, I’m beginning to draw a small crowd as I sit on the porch overlooking the courtyard as they try to read over my shoulder.

It would be a little disconcerting for someone who is not accustomed to the crush of people that one encounters here; and I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I take it in stride. It’s grown to quite a number, though with the children completely surrounding me. But with one word from the housemother, they scatter and make their way to the courtyard for their morning calisthenics.

I’m often still trying to clear the cobwebs this early in the morning, so it’s kind of fun being able to sit in the cool and think a bit as I hear the growing crescendo from the dorms.

They’ve gone into chapel now and I am writing this to the sound of their fervent prayer (led by my friend Naveen) coming from the room just behind me. It was these prayers that got my family through some very tough times last year.

I come to India for the perspective I get here. It is in this completely different cultural context that I get shaken out of the complacency I often find in my own. In their commitment to simple rhythms (you can count on chapel at least once a day) and the togetherness in their practice of it has a way of bringing heaven near.

The problems of life await them in the rest of the day, and many of them are more complex than anything I’ll ever know. But it is here that they bring those problems and are reminded of the One who gives them the strength to face them.

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