Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What is reality? And how much is enough?

Tonight I had....I don't know...a moment of clarity...or a dose of reality.

We live in a small farm house with three little girls. It's a tight squeeze sometimes, but it's a choice we made in order to be financially responsible while adopting our daughters. We always intended to build a house, and we're finally in the process of doing just that. I said process -- it's a long and drawn out process. Right now we're working with an architect to design the house. Sometimes I get discouraged and feel like actually building the house is just a dream.

Tonight I had a few moments to myself while Tony took care of our girls. I spent some of that time sitting in the grass in the exact spot that is staked out to be our future family room -- a spot where I might someday sit in a comfy chair in front of a crackling fire. But...I sat there feeling gloomy and wondering when or if we will actually see a foundation being poured and walls going up. I felt discouraged and maybe a little sorry for myself that we are still cramped in our little house with one bathroom and a dishwasher on wheels. I sat there listening to my iPod filling my head with the sounds of Chris Tomlin singing Amazing Grace -- and then it hit me.

I was sitting there on land we own. Acres and acres of land we own. I was surrounded by the stakes that designated where our new house will someday be -- whether that someday is next month or next year. I was listening to an iPod. I was looking out at the sun setting in the west and watching the trees billow in the wind. Tony was inside taking care of our daughters. I have a bathroom and a dishwasher, even if it is on wheels. I go to the grocery store and it takes five trips to bring all the food in from the van.

It's so easy to be in China or Ethiopia and see how other people live -- and die -- and to fall down on your knees and give thanks for every single thing you have. Once you get home and go to a few play dates at fancy houses the mind seems to put a lot of distance between that reality and our reality. But reality is what hit me while I sat there in the grass tonight.

Halfway around the world in Ethiopia there is a mother who couldn't provide her daughters with basic things like shoes, food, a bed, or even a bathroom. Her daughters never slept in a real bed when they lived with her. Indoor plumbing was not a possibility for her and a dishwasher on wheels simply would have been an unimaginable fantasy. That mother had to make a decision we could not even fathom. Halfway around the world in China there is a mother who didn't have the freedom to keep her daughter. Can we even imagine putting our infant daughter down on a sidewalk and walking away because our government and our family left us without a choice? And what about things that happen right here in our own country or city? My sister-in-law lost her husband a year ago, and their son lost his dad. Our friend has lost his wife and his daughter in the past two years. His sons have lost their mother and their sister. How do you live through that?

And what do I have? I have three beautiful, funny, smart, and amazing daughters who love me and call me mommy, because another mommy had to give that up. I get to tuck them into bed every night and feed them breakfast every morning (and lunch and dinner and a snack in between). I live in a house with bedrooms and a bathroom and lots and lots of food every single day. I have sons who are grown up and independent. Our children have a mommy and daddy who love them and love each other. When one of us gets sick, we just get in the car and go to the doctor.

I'm not saying I won't ever revert back to feeling sorry for myself because I want something I don't have. That seems to be human nature, even if it is wrong. I think the main reason I'm writing this is so that when I do start to feel like that I can re-read this and give myself a reality check. How much is enough? I have more than enough. I have everything I need. I have a family and a home and a God who I know watches over us all every day. I think I will be a better person if I can keep that perspective.


Renee said...

It is so easy to forget, isn't it? Thanks for your words, they had power for me this morning.

Linda and Greg said...

Oh sweetie, you ARE a good person. We all need reminding of the things we have and how fortunate we are sometimes. I've felt the same way and then I get a reality check and kick myself in the pants. Your house will come but you've done so much with what you've got and how little you've got compared to what you and Tony have been used to. I commend you for that. It takes a lot of discipline and courage to do what you both have done. I'm proud of you and I love you!

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Kristine said...

Catching up on your blog this evening, and I love this post!! So true. Puts it all in perspective! Thanks for makin me think!