“Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.”
1 Corinthians 13:8 (NRSV)
Rampyari and I smile at one another, placing our hands over our hearts to express a common desire to connect and to communicate. The mother of my daughter-in-law Saraswati, she speaks only Hindi. Beyond saying “Namaste,” a greeting that means “the God within me honors the God within you,” I speak few words in her language. With the opening of Christmas presents over, we sit before the fire, two women from different cultures with stories to share but no words to convey them.
Saraswati tells me her mother’s history. Married at age 9, Rampyari was never sent to school. Instead she did manual labor on her in-law’s farm while her mother-in-law raised Rampyari’s five children, a not uncommon scenario in India at the time.
“She only now has the opportunity to play,” Saraswati explains, a fact that saddens me and makes me want, even more, to talk with her.
Soon our eight-month old grandson, Somayaaga, redirects our attention as he happily navigates the hand-made wooden car he received as a Christmas present. Rampyari and I join him, crawling around on the floor, mimicking his babbling and movements, exalting in every little achievement, and laughing at his delight. Words no longer matter as we share our love for this beautiful little boy and find ourselves, as grandmothers, enveloped in it.
Holy One, may we know that you desire from us open hearts and loving relationships more than knowledge, stature or laudable achievements. Amen
How do I reach across cultural, economic and ethnic barriers to spread God’s love?
Written by Diane Glass