After a very difficult week and a half, I’m submitting an entry that’s been in the works and waiting for posting completion. The revelation, in fact, happened several weeks ago…
I’ve been experiencing a personal revelation recently. When Nate and I first moved into our Pasadena apartment, I spent the first several months living in a constant state of frustration. The apartment felt like a total mess. No air or heat, thin walls, poor lighting, no counter tops, small appliances, an absentee dishwasher and garbage disposal, and no parking. Our electrical outlets never worked and the water temp in the shower fluctuated every 30 seconds, inducing frequent jump-outs. The residents upstairs worked a combined 24 hours, which meant we heard them all day AND NIGHT. And the carpet was old and relatively dirty, giving out a continuous, disagreeable odor. I could continue…It felt a bit like camping.
So this has been my revelation. I didn’t realize it happened or ever consciously thought about it, but prior to this CA move, I had become used to a lifestyle. I spent three years living in a nice, new Phoenix house with very few problems (not to mention the house I grew up in in IN as well). I had nice appliances. My shower gave a continuous flow of water, remaining a single temp. I could blow my hair dry from an electrical outlet. I had a GARAGE to park my car. These are things I think a lot of us come to expect. We think nothing of it. And in this, I’ve been subconsciously believing I deserved them. The ‘entitlement attitude’ I’ve previously declared to detest, I’ve subscribed to myself. Ah! Thus, where my apartment frustration came from.
Now, I have been on many mission trips, and seen living conditions in parts of the world that make you cry. It affects the way you look at your life. You start to see things for what they really are. But I have to tell you, even seeing some of these things in real life STILL did not have the affect on me like my latest read, “City of Joy” (Dominique LaPierre).
This book, recommended to me by one of my Pasadena Starbuck’s regulars, is based on a Calcutta (India) slum, Anand Nagar (City of Joy). I could, of course, give you a thorough report on this book, though I’d rather you pick it up and read it for yourself. I find myself frequently distracted and lost in thought, mulling over the 70,000 people crammed into an area smaller than two football fields. Of an average income less than .10 cents a day. Of the insects, rats, disease, LEPROSY, intense malnutrition, and poverty. But then I could turn right back around and reflect on the intense human feeling that exists in the City of Joy. The compassion, the grace. A community of poor that know the truth about what it means to love and support one another.
And I ask myself, what ARE these expectations of comfort I have? My subconscious feelings of entitlement (to a garbage disposal…)? What should they be?
Then I beg God, have mercy on me. Increase my compassion. Let me view my life as majority of the world would. Unbelievably privileged. No matter what the current financial and physical circumstances. I am so blessed, and forgot to remember that in our apartment.