In the whirlwind that has been my last two weeks I have learned my fair share of life lessons: lessons on independence, money management, packing for a move, what you actually need in the event that your power goes out, etc. One of the biggest lessons I've learned, however, is how to live without.
When I first moved into my new digs I was without hot water. Have you taken a freezing cold shower lately (or ever)? I don't recommend it... at all. Then, with the storms from the hurricane I lost power for 14+ hours (which just so happened to co-inside with my cold showers and first day of work). I also find myself existing without the luxury of furniture as mine hasn't been delivered yet due to my tricky work schedule. Air mattresses are really great until they become the only furniture you have, but it still trumps the floor (as I've quickly learned). To add insult to injury I have also decided to opt out of the frivolous expense of cable and internet. As a young twenty-something recently out of college I spend an embarrassing and unnecessary amount of time on the internet doing a whole lot of nothing... and the same goes for mindless TV watching. So I've decided to give living without it a go... partly because I find being free of these modern day "necessities" liberating and partly because I am really, really cheap. So far, so good. (This blog post, in fact, is brought to you by my local Starbucks: both their internet and their caffeine being major contributors.)
I have found myself getting continuously caught up in the mindset of self-pity... it's easy to allow yourself to throw a pity party when you're without nearly everything you've come to rely on daily. I have to keep reminding myself that my situation is only temporary. Next week brings the promise of furniture, my hot water has been restored (hallelujah!) and I can access the internet with a short car trip.
However lately it's been weighing on me just how lucky we are. I've found myself burdened with thoughts of those "starving children in Africa" who would love all of the food I didn't want to eat as a child. I bet they've never had a hot shower. And they surely don't have the luxury of electricity, furniture or internet.
But more importantly, they and most other people around the world don't know the freedom we take for granted, freedom to worship and to live and to work and to wear what we choose to wear. The freedom that was threatened nearly 10 years ago today, an event which many of us have all-too-easily forgotten. And when you consider that priceless freedom, what else even matters?
So with a full heart I've been thanking God for all that I do have and letting all that I don't be a reminder of those less fortunate: I'm sure they'd be overjoyed by my four walls, air conditioning and carpeted floors. And as has happened many times before and will continue to happen for the rest of my days, I find renewed import and urgency in the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:18—
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."