I watched "Born into Brothels" the other day and was taken right back to India. It was an amazing movie, a documentary shot in Calcutta about a woman who gave cameras to the children of prostitutes living in the Red Light District. She taught them how to take photographs, and they took beautiful and haunting pictures of things around them. They were so wise for their years. Wise and innocent in the worst of situations. Some of the footage was the best I've seen of India, capturing the chaos and beauty that exists there.

It made me remember the first time I landed in New Delhi and the way I immediately felt overwhelmed by the problems of India. I was eighteen and had never been outside of North America. Everywhere I looked there was sadness, people...babies...with hands outstretched. Their dark eyes were always watching; we must have seemed incredibly rich to them. My friend Christy and I decided to wash the feet of some of the kids one night, right after we arrived, on the streets of Delhi. We bought a bucket and some soap, probably for a few cents, and squatted next to the gutter to wash some of the dirtiest tiny feet that we had ever seen. We eventually had to leave because some men were bothering us, but feet washing became one way we had of breaking our sadness wide-open and doing something that caused people to wonder. Jesus washed his disciple's feet before He died. He must have been overwhelmed by everything He saw; sick people, angry people; and so He made a statement by making dirty feet clean. In India, where bare feet are cracked and dirty, it meant something like what it would have meant to them.

We did it again at a Rainbow gathering at the Kumbh Mela, the largest Hindu gathering ever held, and the largest religious gathering ever held on earth. It was chaos; dust and noise. We were overwhelmed again, by the futility of 80 million people trying to leave an endless wheel of punishment by washing in a certain river on a certain day. We found out later that one hundred thousand old widows were abandoned by their families there by the river. They must have been slowing their families down. Anyways, oppressed and tired, we used water on dusty feet again to fight back with a small spark.

I remember that it was something that my friend Christy always did. She would talk about overcoming evil with good while she sat cross-legged on her bed in our guesthouse room, making small beautiful things for people that she met. She took verses from the Bible and wrote them on pretty paper with butterflies or flowers, the size to fit in someone's palm. And so we wove our way across India, fighting to break open the sense of defeat that often followed us, Christy's butterflies sown in every town we visited. "Overcome evil with good."

It is something I think of now. Not that things around me are truly evil, but sometimes life can be dull, or wearying, or discouraging. Sometimes I can remember to fight back by sowing something beautiful into hard times. That's what this blog can be about for me. Writing a story to keep from feeling victimized by life. You can look at life in so many ways. It can be "Poor me" or "Rich me." It is the worst thing in the world to feel like a victim. What could be worse than feeling like you have no control over your life? I heard recently that only in remembering that our lives are being written into a larger story can we take the mundane things that keep coming, minute by minute.

I want to be the kind of person who invites a lonely person over when I'm feeling lonely rather than waiting for someone to call. Or to be like Christy, sitting cross-legged on a hard bed in one of the hardest places on earth, making beautiful gifts for needy people.