Physical Dimensions of a Spiritual Warfare
Bobby Jindal received his M.Litt. in Politics earlier this year from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He is currently an Associate at McKinsey & Co. in Washington, D.C. He has been accepted at Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School, and has the option of returning to Oxford for a D.Phil. in Politics. He will be deciding which path to pursue soon. A convert to Christianity, he was born and raised Hindu. Some of the names in this article, but none of the details, have been altered by the author.
Though she had not said anything, I knew something was wrong. Susan and I had developed an intimate friendship; indeed, our relationship mystified observers, who insisted on finding a romantic component where none existed. I called her after the University Christian Fellowship (UCF) meeting -- UCF is an Inter-Varsity Christian group composed of undergraduate and graduate students. Though the interdenominational group's weekly program of songs and prayers had produced the usual emotional high among most members, Susan had left the meeting in a very sullen mood. I asked her to join a group of us who were attending a Christian a cappella concert to be held on campus that same evening.
Despite our intimacy, Susan and I had not spent much time together this past year. We had succumbed to pressure from our friends and decided we should not be so emotionally interdependent without a deeper commitment. To be honest, my fears of a relationship and the constraints of commitment had kept us apart; our friends' objections merely provided a convenient excuse. Still, I felt comfortable asking her to come to the concert, and she accepted the invitation. Though Susan appeared composed throughout the concert, her sudden departure in the middle of a song convinced me otherwise and affirmed my earlier suspicions.
There was no doubt in my mind that I had to leave my friends and follow her outside. I was not exactly sure what I would do or say, but I knew I had to run after her. I found that she had not gone far, but was sobbing uncontrollably outside the auditorium. Since we had been very careful to avoid any form of physical contact in our friendship, I was not sure how to respond. My inaction and her sobs produced a very awkward situation. Fortunately, a female friend who followed us out was able to comfort Susan with hugs and soothing words of reassurance; her quick action was in stark contrast to my paralysis. Once Susan had regained her composure and fell silent, I knew I had to intervene. The female friend meant well, but did not know Susan well enough to provide the advice Susan was sure to seek.
Not even knowing the cause of this raucous scene, I asked Susan if she would like to talk, and volunteered to walk her home. Wanting to avoid any additional embarrassing scenes, I thought it best to remain in silence while we walked. I dared not cause another emotional outpouring until we were safely behind closed doors. When we finally reached her dorm room, I promptly sat Susan on a bed and placed myself in a chair located several feet across the room. This physical arrangement was hardly conducive to the love and support I was supposed to be providing, but I was too scared and unsure of myself to get any closer.