When the Bajaj Foundation had their annual picnic, they invited us all to attend. After helping make chapati for a bit, I was drawn to a small hut where I heard people playing music and chanting. As I got closer, I realized I had stumbled upon a puja, a form of Hindu worship. Standing in the doorway of the hut, I was invited to come in.
The hut was packed with men and women singing and playing bells, one man playing drums and another on the harmonium. Sitting on the ground, I began to nod my head to the music. I felt the beat, the harmonium’s notes and voices wash over me peacefully. Eventually, I was handed a bell to join in. Watching others, I found the beat and returned to a state of flow. I blissfully listened to the call and response between men and women as they collectively praised their god.
I find god in the small places like that hut. Not the big god whose name is thumped in mega churches and derisive public rhetoric, but the small one that connects two people of different faiths. The small god that is there when a stranger pours kindness on another and no one is there to be witness. The small god that pumps wonder and awe into an observer of natural beauty.
That small god is testimony to the idea that what is small can be big.
While I was in India, I made a serious effort to connect with Hinduism, a faith that played an important role in the lives of many people I met. I believe that it’s not only important to find your own truth, but understand what others believe as well.
My sister Elizabeth is a tremendous example of a Christian living out her faith. Very few people actually take Christ’s words - and what is demanded by them - seriously, but she is one of them. She is one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met and gives me constant guidance in how to be genuinely kind towards others. Her faith is beautiful, strong and powerful.
As a result of how important she is to me, I’ve also tried to understand Christianity and its importance. Besides being a good role model, Elizabeth has been a trusted advisor in my own quest for truth over the years and I fondly remember our long talks over hot chocolate in the summer while we were both in Malawi. Although I have many doubts and questions to answer about my own beliefs, I’m sure that I found her god in that puja that day. When I left the hut, I emerged with a deep sense of calm and felt my sister reaching out to me through time and space.