Sunday, February 24, 2008

Not All Lessons Are Hard Lessons

Leatrice would be so proud of me right now, because I am sitting in the room she calls, "The Room [I] never use." I call it the living room. And I even started a fire on my own (well ok it wasn't that difficult, since it is gas, but until today I've been afraid I'd set the house on fire. So I overcame my fear tonight and started it all by myself).

My latest and greatest pondering deals with contentment. I think about all the "stuff" I have...a beautiful home, a well-paying job, two loving puppies, a pantry full of food (most of which doesn't even get eaten), lots of clothes, my own car to which I have access 24/7...etc. etc. Above those things, I have a husband and many friends that are near and dear to my heart. I am so incredibly blessed it is beyond comprehension. What would it be like to live in a place where these "blessings" are unheard of? A co-worker on my unit is from India, and I am fascinated by her stories of life in her country. She says life in America is easy. In India the work is physically demanding. The wife works all day long to clean and cook, and the husband is usually out doing heavy labor-type work. However, she says that in India, there is much more respect within the family. The children rarely talk back because they are taught by all family members not to do so. There is greater support among the family members, and the entire extended family is truly seen as a unit. When she spoke about her family in India, she made comments like, "We have house in India," when she referred to where her cousin lives. To the family, the house is not sole property of her cousin; it is the entire family's house, even if the cousin is the one who "owns" the house.

I am intrigued by this attitude. All of my "blessings" are mine, right? No! My blessing is your blessing. And I want to learn that all the "stuff" in my life doesn't just belong to me. I have no inherent right to all these things. I could be content with so much less. I like knowing that I don't need more and more for my life to work out just right. I can look back just a year ago when we were renting and I remember feeling that void of not owning a house. And just a few months ago I can remember feeling the void of not yet having children. Or the first 6 months of my job when I hated it and wondered how on earth I could ever survive in such a stressful environment. I suppose it took me getting all these things to realize that I don't really need them. All I need to be content is to have faith that God cares deeply for me and that he will provide all that I need. He cares for me, just the me that He created and that exists. Even my personality, which God created uniquely for me, is irrelevant in His love for me. So his love depends on nothing of who I am other than that I simply am His child.

Now take all these things away and how would I feel or react? I don't know. But thank God for the grace He gives to teach me these lessons, even if He is so gracious to hand them to me on a silver platter.

Not all lessons are hard lessons.


Katie Sue said...

Sarah, well put! I've been mulling over very similar ideas lately. Everything is such a precious gift from God and we should be so content in the gifts He's given us. Thank you for such a humbling reminder!

Leatrice said...

Way to go using the room that you never use, I'm so proud!

Rach said...

Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing your heart and for the ever so important reminder that God's love doesn't depend upon me. It is just who He is and what He does. So glad you have joined the blogging world! See ya Wednesday. Hope you got some good sleep yesterday.

therapptorroars said...

That was a great read, Sarah, and thank you for sharing. "Hard" times for us are when major appliances break or the power goes out. Lots of places have little or none of those things. Your reminder is appreciated! Dr. Lincoln made a comment during a sermon a couple months ago you might like: "Christianity is more about God holding on to you than it is about you holding on to God." That's gotta make ya smile!

Katie Sue said...

Sorry to comment again, but I read this quote on a different blog this morning and thought of this blog. So I hope you don't mind if I share it here: "The paradox of privilege is that it is meaningless when it only serves the self, when it thinks it has nothing to learn from anyone else." I think you've hit the nail on the nose, we are blessed but we can't just allow it to serve ourselves.