The last few days I’ve been devouring archives at the blog We are THAT Family . I started at the beginning, back-tracking my way through her posts when I had to jump a few pages forward to read, in order, about the journey she took with Compassion to Kenya and how that changed her entire life. Folks, those posts changed me in a not-so-small way, too.
It’s not that I’ve never seen poverty. I’ve worked in inner-city Houston at least once a year (often more) since I was a small girl. I’ve been to Honduras multiple times to build houses and have seen what that “Third World” looks like, and it’s not pretty. It’s smelly, it’s creepy-crawly and full of some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known. And, shoot, I technically live right on that “Poverty Line” right now, as a newlywed. I’m from a comfortably middle-class family, my father works at a bank and my mother has both worked and stayed at home, depending on her desire and the needs of my family. I’ve been really comfortable my whole life, and I’ve enjoyed it and been grateful for it every step of the way.
And then I had a moment of conviction. I started to hustle myself up a late lunch to continue my blog-scouring when I looked around my house, the phrase, “the size of a walk-in closet” bouncing through my head. And I looked around at my surroundings and realized how UNgrateful I’ve been for these things. I have felt disappointed and unappreciated because
- I can’t eat out whenever I feel like it
- I haven’t been to see a movie in the theater since New Moon came out
- I haven’t bought new clothes since March (5 months)
- I can’t have the small treats I ask for
- I can’t have the small (but expensive) “Home Improvements” I’ve decided we need
- We don’t go on date nights as often as I like
- My house is cluttered and messy
How dare I feel this way? How Dare I treat my husband like he doesn’t provide for me? How can I resent the fact that I don’t receive the small treats I ask for when I know good and well my husband purchases these things UNASKED when he feels I need them the most? How can I wish for a bigger house when my laundry room is the size of some people’s whole home? I have a nice, comfy couch in my living room to sprawl out on, a big bed to sleep in, plenty of clothes to wear and a working washer and dryer to clean them in… dishes, good food, books overflowing from my bookcases, movies filling yet another bookcase, a large TV, a brand-new laptop… and yet I’ve fallen into the trap of feeling like I will be more respectable if we have more things, a bigger house, a second car, nicer clothes. I’ve desired from day one to have MORE and BIGGER and “BETTER” things when all along I’ve had all I need and more still.
How can I possibly have become THAT materialistic? How can any of us be THAT materialistic? How can we neglect to be grateful THAT much? How can our hearts be THAT cold?
Dear God, what a jerk I’ve been. To You, to the beautiful husband you’ve blessed me with. Please forgive me. Please help me to show respect to him and adequately praise him for all the things he has done and given and sacrificed for me. Please continue to remind me of the images I’ve seen and the stories I’ve read, keep them fresh in my mind and help me to find more ways to sacrifice for others. It’s in your sons name I pray, Amen.
These should be static links to the posts I talk about. Please read all 7 as each builds on the last.
Day 1: Moved with Compassion
Day 2: True Religion
Day 3: Why I’m in Kenya
Day 4: My Rescue
Day 5: Today, I went to Hell
Day 6: Maureen
Kenya Day 7: It’s time to Leave Africa
Out of Africa
Big Plans for Our Refrigerator