I have to tell you, that jet lag thing is quite the beast! I’ve slept almost 25 of the last 36 hours! And I finally feel like my usual rested and energetic self again.
Gratefully, I only really experienced jet lag after coming home — not so much when I was actually in South Africa. Thanks to your prayers and the grace of God, I had so much energy and stamina while there, despite the 8-hour time difference, the very full days, and the short nights.
But after a full day in South Africa on Monday, then getting on a plane on Monday evening for an 18-hour flight to DC, then meeting my family in DC and having another 12-hour drive home, I was exhausted and finished (as they say in South Africa) by the time I got home.
In fact, when we pulled up in our driveway, I could barely keep my eyes open enough to make it to my bed. However, I have to tell you, the thought that consumed me as I was trying to keep my eyes open enough to make it upstairs to our bedroom was this, “We have such a nice house. It feels too big, too new, and too clean.”
Here’s the funny thing: ever since we moved to TN, I’ve missed our house in Kansas. It was bigger, roomier, laid out better, and newer. This TN house — while it has wonderful features like an amazing kitchen — has had a lot of issues.
We’ve had a major earwig infestation that’s the result of a big drainage issue in our backward. We’ve had more spiders and bugs than I ever saw in Kansas. We’ve had many problems with leaks and plumbing. We have very, very limited hot water (which means we often take cold or lukewarm showers). We’ve had A/C and heating problems.
We sorely miss our big and roomy basement we had in Kansas. We miss the ample storage our other house had. We miss the beautiful backyard we had. And we miss the two extra bedrooms we had in Kansas.
In the midst of all of these things we’ve dealt with this TN house, I’ve chosen to focus on the blessings and what we do have (which is so, so much!), so I’ve not allowed myself to be discouraged or beaten down about it. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t many moments when I’ve missed what we used to have, wished I could enjoy a hot shower, or wistfully longed for an extra bedroom.
But when I walked into our house on Tuesday evening, I saw it with brand-new eyes. I almost felt a sense of embarrassment over how nice it is. I also found myself realizing how much many of us take for granted.
Most of us don’t know what it’s like to go hungry for days on end.
Most of us don’t know what it’s like to not have more than one food option.
Most of us don’t know what it’s like to have to walk everywhere we need to go.
Most of us were raised with at least one parent in our lives.
Most of us have more than one outfit, food in our fridge, a roof over our heads, clean laundry, shoes with soles, running water…
We complain about the internet being slow or down. We fuss over the fact that we can’t afford a bigger house. We grumble that we can’t buy more organic foods in our grocery budget. We wish we didn’t have to shop at thrift stores. We envy others who have an SUV or mini-van while we’re trying to fit three car seats in the back of our very used car.
I’m not saying this to lay a guilt-trip. I get that many of you have hard, hard burdens you’re bearing. I get we have other struggles here in the states that they might not have in other countries.
But I want to encourage you to go throughout your day today with fresh perspective. Instead of seeing what you don’t have or wishing for something you want to have, focus on what you already have.
If you are washing dishes, be grateful for running water, soap, and pots and pans to wash.
If you are driving to work, be grateful for a vehicle to drive, money to buy gas, and the ability to have a job.
If you are cleaning your toilets, be grateful for indoor plumbing.
If you are folding laundry, be grateful for the ability to wash your clothes & for outfits for your family.
If you are cooking dinner, be grateful for access to food and money to buy food to feed your family.
We have so much more than we often realize. We have much to be grateful for. Don’t miss out on the many, many blessings around you because you’re so focused on wanting something you don’t have. Start noticing those blessings and you’ll begin to realize just how rich your life really is.
P.S. You must read Lisa-Jo’s post on how you all helped make a major difference in the Maubane community. It’s pretty much a goose-bump-inducing post!