December 3 – Moment.
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
(Author: Ali Edwards)
I have to say, this one is tough for me, and not because of a lack of alive moments. It's one thing about living in Asia: nothing ever stops. Life is brilliant, colorful, smelly and loud. I feel very alive here, and in the last year I have felt alive everywhere because nothing ever got old or over-familiar.
So I'll focus on one recent moment. One week ago exactly, I took all of the kids (there are eight altogether in our community) to the coconut grove near our house. It was time for our Saturday Devotion Circle on our rooftop, and the kids sang with us and shared thankfulness stories, but then I gathered them and took them out.
The coconut grove is a long expanse of nothing but coconut trees that separates the beach from the houses. It's sort of like a coconut orchard, with evenly spaced rows of trees. There is one banyan tree in the whole thing; a little guy by banyan tree standards. The banyan tree, being one of the only sources of shade (the coconut grove can be unbelievably hot in the middle of the day) is a popular spot. It was about 5:00 in the evening when we settled under it on a straw mat that one of the kids carried and spread out for me.
We talked about Jesus and the lepers, how only one came back to thank him, and we made a paper chain of thankfulness. The local young guys came out to play volleyball under the tree, and we scooted ourselves over. The light was that soft amber that comes at the end of the day. The kids finished their chain and ran off to climb another close by tree. I sat and watched them, Solo coloring beside me. I watched the colors changing, saw the laundry on a clothesline farther down in the grove. The kids laughed and quarreled in the tree. The ball escaped the volleyball players and one boy on the ground threw it back. Cheers and yells came from the makeshift volleyball court as the guys yelled to one another in Konkani. Birds flew overhead and we found an old shoe under the leaves. It smelled like the burning at the end of the day, and the sun kept moving down and I was so full of peace I could have floated away.