An article written for our church newsletter.
I can recall the exact texture and flavor of my mother-in-law’s perfectly made idlis*. Idlis are typically a breakfast food. Their ground rice and lentil batter is fermented and then steamed into a white, spongy, and puck-like morsel. We use idlis to sop up sambar*, a savory vegetable-lentil soup, and spicy coconut chutney. My mouth waters as I type, for I adore idlis. Despite some valiant efforts on my part, I have not come even close to mastering the art of idli-making in Holland, MI. My near constant craving goes unanswered.
I am rejoicing a little bit right now, however, because idlis– my mother-in-law’s idlis– are on the horizon. We have purchased the tickets that will fly us back to India this June. June 17 is the day. Finally Leila and Reuben and Mommy will eat idlis in south India, and we will smile. (Daddy does not actually care for idlis, silly guy, but he will eat them anyway because that is just what you do in India. And, really, everything taste good with some coconut chutney.)
I am rejoicing. I am also wondering. Like the majority of you I have only seen pictures and heard stories about the new Ministry Center going up in India. I have been in awe of the process, the size, and certainly the possibilities that the new space offers. But the thing is, I remember enjoying my idlis around the ever-too-small table (for the number of people present) in the screened in porch area of JP’s previous family home, a familiar space now long gone. It may have been scrunched around that table, but it was always delicious. It always seemed breezy and idyllic. It was good to rub elbows and develop relationships there, at that table. I’m wondering what the new dining area will feel like, yes, but just this morning I started to wonder if and where such a dining area exists in the new building.
Things are going to be different. I am pretty certain that the idlis will taste exactly the same even while many things will be radically different this time around. There will be adjustments to the new building. New staff members have some on board since I last visited WCOI. JP and I have a new nephew! My own children have grown and changed very much since we last walked the landscape of our second home.
I trust that we are made for change, for growth and maturity, for new contexts, and new adventures. I could not live this life otherwise. And I trust that the idlis will taste the same and the dining room table will still fit enough people, making home timeless even in the midst of change.