Forgive and forget. This is something we are taught from a young age. Often times, we do not and can not forget the pain so we shove it down deeper. We keep it hidden so we appear to have forgotten except when a moment or a memory brings it to the surface and rips open the wound again. It is hard to voice our pain to others because it means we didn't forget. What if we just forgive and never forget? What if we allow Jesus to redeem the really deep wounds but allow our scars to be told through our stories? What if those wounds we signs of hope for others who are going through the same situations or struggles?
I was forced to think about this in light of the women I work with on a daily basis. I am surrounded by women who deeply love, greatly care and abundantly feed everyone around them. I have only heard brief stories of the struggles they have faced along their journey to Sari Bari. I can only imagine the struggles they have faced or the abuse they have suffered. I can't imagine any one of these women has forgotten their past but have used their past struggles to fight for each step of freedom. They are welcomed into a family who share their wounds and the ways they have been restored. It was beautiful to hear the ways Sari Bari has transformed lives during the birthday celebration. Generations are being transformed and deep wounds are being redeemed. What would it look like if I let my wounds transform the way I love people? What would it look like to carry those wounds as a part of my story? How could my wounds change the way people see me?
Kolkata is a city that creates huge wounds in my heart. It aches for the extreme poverty. It cringes as the injustice. It cries out for the women and children in bondage. It hurts for the brokenness of the lanes of the red light areas. There are also the wounds of being a white woman walking the streets of Kolkata. As I pass, I hear words I understand in English (and some I don't in Bengali) which shrinks me down to a pair of boobs. As I crowd into the metro or stop to buy a cold drink, I am grabbed as if I were a piece of meat for the taking or the subtle brushes which slowly eat away at my worth. Those are the wounds I carry with me as I leave this place. God is healing those wounds as I offer them up to Him. Through redemption those wounds are made beautiful. When Jesus appeared to his disciples after being crucified, it was his wounds which proved his identity. My wounds are proof of the journey God has laid before me. I can not and will not forget.