My Friend, Raju Bhaiya

Meet my friend Raju Bhaiya. But first a little background. I got to know Raju while working with him in teaching a small bunch of dalit kids in rural North India. Presently he’s employed in the same hospital where he was carried in as a patient a couple of years or so ago. While racing to the local market to make some last minute purchases for his wedding that was to happen a few days later, he got into a terrible accident. The consequent spinal cord injury resulted in him losing access to half of his body and as he thought then, his whole future.

Now please take a moment to watch this video.

Amazing right? In the midst of darkness, light! What moves me about this video is possibly the very same thing that moves you -the beauty of God’s restorative love showcased in every defiant dance move – even in the vibrancy of this young man’s torso that refuses to be enslaved by his limp limbs. His story should’ve had a more predictable ending – depression and suicide at its worst ( and it did go there ), resignation and endurance at its best – but dancing with joy!? – that’s not the ending we’d expect of this story..and yet that kind of ‘twist in the tale’ is exactly what we need to see over and over again to restore our broken hope in God.

Which brings me to the thing that I want to share.
The world needs more stories or rather, it needs more “true stories”. To put it another way, what we are hungry for is incarnated truth. And what we are actually weary of (although we may not quite realize it ourselves ) is intellectual truth..truth that stirs our minds but leaves our souls intact. Incarnated truth; the truth our lives and choices display, teaches, encourages, admonishes and transforms in a way that ‘wisdom’ cannot.

Some years ago, I was mentoring a young lady who was part of a church discipleship programme that required regular one to one meetings with me, stretching over several months. At the end of this duration, the ‘mentees’ were required to express their appreciation for their mentors in some way. This young lady wrote me a letter I’ll never forget. I expected to find in there some mention of the many ‘gems of wisdom’ I’d shared with her in our frequent conversations together, some pointer to how these glittering insights had changed the course of her life : ), but to my surprise the one thing she’d highlighted was the one that I wasn’t even aware she was looking at. What had impacted her was the fact that we had these meetings at my home, at a time when I was the primary care giver for both my ailing grandmother and my mum who was going through cancer treatment. That was the first time that my dim eyes were opened to understanding that it is lives that transform lives. And that words while powerful, are only as impactful as the truth they embody in the speaker’s life. Simply put, what we learn from a Bible study or hear on a Sunday morning is often (though not always) forgotten, but what we learn from a person’s life endures forever in our hearts and we often become the imitator of those things in our own lives.

I have sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which is exactly what I teach everywhere in every church.…
– Apostle Paul, The Bible

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