This morning as I stood alongside the off-white kitchen counter at my new in-laws I glanced over at the refrigerator and began scanning what was posted, shared, written and appointmented. A minute into scanning I realized that I could read what was around me. I could understand what was being communicated. On this large white cold container, I could read what was being said! It has been so long since this was the case! I could understand the form of communication running back and forth between what was written, what my eyes were reading and what my mind was able to understand and comprehend.
Although it may seem that what impacted me the most through these few moments of realization was that I was not in a different country and could understand the language, what really impacted me the most during those moments was the realization that I was standing in front of arefrigerator, full of food, in a house, with a beautiful yard surrounded by blackberry bushes and green grass. Although like millions of Americans, a modest home full of love - I can't help but continue to struggle with the necessity of it all and how different this is from the reat of the world.
You see, this is a struggle I have been wrestling with for some time now. What is a "home"? What is necessary for a "home"? What makes a "home" comfortable? Why are "our" homes so much different than what a majority of the world considers a "home"?
Some may call these "cultural shock" questions I'm sure. But I must share with you, these are questions I have had for a number of years now. Through my transitions of sharing and outfitting an apartment in Fairfax to my time in Mission Year Chicago, up into this year of nothingness but the backpack on our backs; questions of what make a
"home" have continued to linger in our minds. All the while, hoping that God will remain faithful in teaching us and sharing with us what type of "home" He desires.
Does God desire a home with all the amenities that contribute to commercial convenience or would He rather live in a mud hut with only rugs to sit on and one gas stove burner to cook on like the nuns of Tattiwin, Morocco? Would He prefer a home filled with clothes and toys, furniture and space or would He rather "have" (if Jesus "had") three sets of clothing to wear like Mother Theresa, old boxes and tall trees to play in like the kids living on the streets of Delhi, dirt floors with worn in carpets to sit on like the tribal families of Northern Thailand, and a small space to share in the lives of others with like most comunities we have been fotunate enough to share time with?
I'm really struggling with this, because truly - I enjoy soft beds, comfortable couches to stretch out on, pools to swim in, computers to write on, ovens to bake
in, pantries to store food in, cold soy milk to drink each morning and green yards to dance in. And to be honest, I must confess, I am a bit nervous about posting this struggle of mine with fear of alienating and/or hurting those who have offered us thier home and these same very things each time we step into their homes. We are beyond grateful for what you have given, and continue to give to us all in the name of love. my intention is not to hurt you or sound ungrateful, but to ask of your forgiveness if I have offended you as I work and struggle with you through these questions and confusions of life.
I am sorry because I understand, I am here with you. I enjoy these same things, but a sense of "different" conviction is slowly making it's way into the core of my being and making me feel more uncomfortable as time progresses. So maybe it is cultural shock, but right now it feels like cultural conviction. Conviction of what is truly necessary in life to loving others and serving God.
Until I figure this out (yeah, right...)then I will continue practicing intentional thanks to God for being able to read what is posted, shared, written and appointmented on the refrigerator that holds and keeps cool the soy milk we drink each morning. Simply because it delights me and I believe this gratitude and joy pleases God as well.