Wednesday, February 14
Satyam insisted. I guess I had stirred up some excitement in him from his glory days as a Yoga instructor when I came down from my room in my running clothes. I wanted to know where I could do some running, now that we were in the city of Hyderabad. Satyam came outside with me, through the gate, and showed me exactly where to run. And where NOT to run. “Street too dangerous.” I had already been on Indian roads long enough to know the truth of that statement. So, it was around the block I guess.
I started out and suddenly two small boys with eager smiles on their faces showed up. They wanted to join me. They couldn’t speak much English, but I think I got the point across that I might run faster than them, and they should only go around the block once. (They, of course, kept up to me just fine, thank you.)
When I got back Satyam insisted that he teach me how to run in-place, so I wouldn’t have to go out in the street next time. I thought about explaining to him that the point of running in the street isn’t just about exercise, but seeing the neighborhood life… but caught myself before I bumbled into that one. I did some quick calculating. I figured it would take…. what, maybe 15 minutes? Sure, no problem. “Yes, that would be great” I heard myself say. Then wondered when I would have the time to keep THIS promise.
Oh, by the way, he also used to teach Yoga. Not “that new, watered-down kind” that everyone is teaching, but the old-school Yoga, from a Hindu master who taught him. “Okay.” I set it up for Tuesday. We walked up the stairs together to the second floor where we were staying. Satyam removed a knee wrap and told me he had a lot of pain in his knee. I asked him if I could pray for healing for his knee. He didn’t quite understand—was I going to exercise it? No, PRAY for it… pray to God for healing. As soon as he heard the word “God” he insisted—“NO.” No God. I don’t believe in any god—not Hindu, not Muslim. Only natural things.
Okay. At least I offered… and we were building a new friendship.
I was gone all day Tuesday so I missed him. By Wednesday morning I figured he had forgotten about our conversation on Monday. Then the doorbell rang on our 7-room suite of this Bed and Breakfast hotel. It was Satyam. He was here to teach me how to run in-place before we left after lunch. Lucky me. He taught me three different ways to run in place. I had to stop after 3 minutes of doing each one—I was already sweating and puffing. Wow. What a work-out! Super aerobics. Lifetime Fitness should contract with him.
We snapped a picture and talked a little. I tried again… could I give him a gift? A book? “Yes,” he said. I picked up my Telegu translation of the Alpha booklet, “Why Jesus?” signed it and gave it to him. Then I asked him if I could pray for his knee. “Yes,” he said. And by the way, he had some neck/back pain too. So I laid hands on him in the name of Jesus, which I pray will lead him to the God of All Life. We shook hands and wished each other well. It’s the beginning of a friendship between us. Possibly… with Jesus too.