One year in India teaches you to just go with the flow. Often times, India life calls you to GO even when you have no idea what will happen. Plans are figurative and time is flexible (i.e. “5 minutes” could actually mean 10 minutes or 30 minutes).
Last month, Carly and I went to Kakinada to train 60 educators, speech therapists, and physical therapists on how to integrate music into special education classrooms. With only a few days notice, we prepared as much as we could, and went on our way. I did have a moment of “stress flurry” about Will I have enough time? How many people will come…60 or 150? Am I presenting the right content? Will they have a projector for my powerpoint? Will they arrange a car for us? Carly quickly talked me down, and reminded me that “Whatever happens, happens,” and “It’s going to be good,” and “You know how things go here…”
The day was wildly successful. The trainees were engaged, active, and eager to learn about music. Carly talked about the benefits of facilitating an active classroom, the effect of music on the brain, and Gardener’s Hierarchy of Intelligences. I introduced the teachers to music therapy, explained how music can be used to address a number of learning objectives, and taught them skills and activities to integrate into their classroom.
Nothing went surprisingly off-plan…I guess because I was not holding onto many expectations in the first place. Rather than being stuck to the rigidity of schedule and plans, I approached things with a more flexible mindset. Yes, I did come prepared…but I was also prepared for nothing to go as planned. So, when we started our presentation an hour late, were frequently interrupted, and asked to adjust the end of the program for a VIP guest, it didn’t come as a surprise.
I guess to Carly and I, all these “unexpected” things are now to be expected. Choosing to hold on to rigidity and expectations just doesn’t work around here.
I’m reminded of how Paul writes to the Corinthian church about his change of plans. He was scheduled to move from one place to the next, but as God spoke to his heart, he said “yes” to the Lord’s leading. His flexibility and willingness to “go with the flow” allowed the Holy Spirit to work through him.
“But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.”
2 Corinthians 1:18-19
My journey at Riverside school and of music therapy in India has been filled with many challenges, obstacles, and moments of “I don’t know what I’m doing.” I may start with a plan, but God has often changed the course of my path. However, through uncertainty came great joy. I’ve had many beautiful moments with my students that show me my purpose here. No matter what unexpected things come in life, I desire to say “yes” to God.