Sometimes I seriously need a slap in the head. Moments when I sigh and feel greed just rise up within me. It rises and clouds my moods and my thoughts until I just wish someone would slap me and then show me a slideshow of memories (like the following).
Allow me to explain. Several years ago I was blessed and sent by some wonderful people to spend a summer in Romania. I was an 18 year old on a plane with dreams of holding orphans and helping others, and instead I returned with a brain full of wonderful lessons that the Lord so carefully taught me and I was never the same.
Meet the Roman family. Me and my two American roomates were invited to their home for supper. They were members of the church that hosted us while we were in Romania, and they warmly invited us for supper and to “share our testimonies.” 🙂
We showed up to an 10th floor apartment and happily sat down to a GREAT meal. My friend Jodie was offered a beer with a head on it three inches wide, to which we burst into giggles. We were on a MISSIONS TRIP people!! haha! She politely opted for COLA instead. 🙂
The Romans had 2 children. Notice the table is in their living room. I believe their entire apartment could have fit inside of my parents master bath and closet back home. The daughter slept in the kitchen on a bench that she pulled out, and the brother slept on the living room couch. One bathroom and no yard. But you would think they were RICH by the way they acted and constantly offered us more food and drink. The dad was eager to know our stories and how God had worked in our lives. It was such a refreshing time and I treasure that memory with them, as they had taken three American girls (especially one freakishly tall hungry one) in and lavished us with such hospitality.
Another single mother welcomed us into her home. Yes that’s 5 children…five! She was a single mother and shared her bed with two children while the other three slept in another bed. Her house was clean, warm, and she too lavished us with a warm meal and hospitality.
While in Romania we saw so much poverty. I also saw poverty in Ecuador and Bosnia. Families literally living in cardboard and boxcars. Poverty that can’t be described but opened my naive eyes and left me laying in my bed so thankful for a warm place to sleep. But then you take a plane home and you are surrounded again with hot showers and Suburbans, oversized recliners and flat screens, big gulps of Dr. Pepper. And you slowly forget…and the greed returns (at least I’m speaking for myself).
Sometimes I wish for new dishes, new clothes, cute shoes, or a bigger bathroom. I get frustrated and feel sub-par to my friends houses and cars. I think my minivan smells and has no gas hatch (oh the humanity!! not a GAS HATCH!!) I complain that we have TWO older cars…not stopping at the fact that we have TWO cars!! Andy Stanley has said once that we are the only country that keeps change (aka money) in our cars and in our couches as if it’s disposable and insignificant.
So sometimes I need a slap. I need fresh eyes to walk through my house and just marvel at the SPACE I DO have. Even an average American’s house would be viewed as a CASTLE in other countries. I go to my pantry and it’s FULL. I go to the grocery and it’s FULL of food. I turn on the faucet and the water is HOT!! My kids have so many toys we have to PURGE constantly to keep from being able to get to their bed at night. I can hop in a car and go wherever I want. I have a closet full of clothes…I could go on and on…and don’t even get my started on my coffee snobbery.
So next time you hear me whine or complain, I give you full permission to slap me! The Lord has been SO good to me and I don’t want to miss it. He is the one who opens my eyes, and I pray he does the same for my children because I am 100% sure He doesn’t force feed lessons like that. He opens our eyes at just the right time.
So I would love to end this post with a urge to “be thankful” but maybe…..we should just ask Him for new eyeballs or glasses…or wherever the heck I’m going for with this metaphor.