Friday, December 8, 2017

perspective

The leaning pole in this pic is holding electric wire over our new driveway.

It's a weird thing to take a picture of, but I took it to serve as a reminder. I traveled to Zimbabwe and Tijuana in 2017, and both were bold reminders of the blessings we experience here, and thus the need to be mindful of how we are stewarding what we've been given. 

Zimbabwe, where the people are beautifully joyful and full of energy themselves, often experiences blackouts due to unreliable electricity. People don't spend their evenings glazey-eyed over instagram photos or Facebook rants, nor do they spend their time worrying about their electricity; they spend their time with other people, and some of the most amazing citizens of Zimbabwe help others in amazing ways

And in Tijuana, just five miles away from prosperity and reliable systems (electricity, internet, water, road systems), people are hauling water buckets up 15 flights of stairs up the side of a cliff so they can wash a pot and a pan and then themselves. And they are helping elderly women with canes hobble down washed out roads atop mountains. They are sweeping dirt floors and wishing for access to good healthcare. 

And they are celebrating weddings with songs sung over sound systems powered by poles that are barely standing up straight, poles like the one in the picture below. One of our friends told us of a wedding he visited while in TJ. He was trying to remain inconspicuous, standing behind the crowd and leaning on a pole, only to find that the pole began to lean and fall down, pulling wires from above him and then pulling the wires connecting the wedding sound system to power. He was leaning on a wonky electric pole. He and a passerby scrambled to pile more rocks around the pole to steady it and allow the wedding to continue. I'm not even sure many people noticed the incident, to be honest. With poles set using a bit of dirt and rocks, loss of power seems inevitable. 

Lastly, in DRC, where Clementine is from, where we lost two children we had hoped to adopt, and where 31 of 51 children in one orphanage in one community died due to dysentery, caused by unclean drinking water. Unclean water. Clean water is such a gift, and I take for granted every day. 

So the pole here is a reminder to be thankful for what we have, including even the often annoying systems, rules and governments that regulate things like electricity and where we can place a well and how close driveways can be to one another. Sometimes those systems and rules seem ridiculous (and they can be very ridiculous!), but overall we must be thankful for them, because they enable us to have reliable systems in place. 

But the pole is also a reminder that while it is fun to dream and scheme about building an amazing house, we want to be sure our budget allows room to give to others, in whatever way God may ask us to give in the future. We need a bit of wiggle room (very tricky on a pastor's budget anyway, even trickier when trying to build a house for 6+), which means we need to make sure we don't go crazy with additions and upgrades in order to stay within our budget. It would be very easy for me to get carried away and upgrade all sorts of items (flooring, and countertops, and tile, oh my!), but I can't let the thrills of all of the pretty things get in the way of the joy that comes with giving. 

(So if it ever looks like I'm going crazy and upgrading everything over here, remind me of this electric pole.)