Monday, August 08, 2011

My Bed, My Deep Thoughts

Last night I slept in a nice bed. The mattresses are really high-quality, given to us as a wedding gift by someone who works in the business. They even have our names embroidered on the side! Oh yes. You read that correctly. The frame is wrought iron and bought from a friend when they were moving. Just for fun I bought a bunch of paint and made it red. So, my bed is comfy AND pretty. The sheets, while not a crazy-high thread count, are also nice and I chose a pretty cute style on them...small red flowers. I have a pillow that cost something like $30. For a pillow! It's a memory-foam pillow that was originally Trent's, which he loaned to me when I was pregnant with Carson and having trouble sleeping...and which I never gave back. I love that thing and take it everywhere.

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When we got in bed, it was pretty warm, so we had the a/c on low. I read for quite a while. Just for enjoyment, with a light sitting on my nightstand. I didn't doubt for a second that the light would turn on, or think about the electricity bill. Then before I fell asleep, I turned the a/c off, and just let the ceiling fan blowing on us. It has 3 speeds, so we chose the medium speed. Then in the middle of the night, I was a bit chilly, so I covered up with one of my 3 blankets.

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My kids each cried out in the night once (maybe twice?). It didn't startle or worry me. I knew they were safe and they, too, have pretty comfy beds. And their own rooms, decorated especially for them. Full of toys and clothes. One just wanted to be re-tucked in and one needed to go to the bathroom. So I took her across the hall to our bathroom, where she and her brother had both been washed clean in the tub earlier that night. We flushed away her pee and didn't have to think about it again. Even in our sleepiness, we washed our hands with soap and water, because it's a habit. I tucked her in where she quickly fell asleep without a care in the world, except for the 1.5 seconds she couldn't find her lovey. Then I got back in my comfy bed and realized: this nightly routine is just a scratch on the surface of a life of abundance that I take so for granted.

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How many millions of people in this world do not have a bed to sleep on? Do they have a roof over their heads--and if so, is it more than a piece of corrugated metal or a blue canopy? What are their pillows made of? What do they do when it is too hot? How many blankets can they choose from when it is too cold? How do they keep the possibly-diseased-infected insects away from their children while they sleep? And in many places, vicious insects are the least of the predators putting their children at risk--the human kind being the most terrifying. When they have to go to the bathroom in the night, how far do they walk? And how easily is the human waste removed from their daily activities? How difficult is it and how often can they bathe their children in clean water? Can they wash away germs with the flick of a faucet and the squirt of liquid soap? What nightmares do these children suffer through, and are their minds so greatly eased when they wake up to reality?

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As I laid in bed, a feeling of gratitude washed over me. A sharp ache of the undeserving. And the unmistakable sting of conviction. See, I'm having some people over tonight, some of whom have never been to our house. And all weekend I've been kind of pouting and stressing that our house is...inadequate. It's really small and the floor-plan is strange. Our furniture is the same it was over 10 years ago, and the decor is also the same. There are dents and scratches in the wall and the laminate is warped. Don't even get me started on the carpet stains! Having a bunch of people over often sends me into furies of discontentment. But it took an uneventful 2 am potty break to snap me back to the truth: I am rich. Our family is blessed beyond measure, and a majority of people in this world could only dream of living in a house this nice, this large.

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And because I think God has a sense of humor, and maybe he wanted me to connect in a more personal way with those families who live so differently than us...Trent and I each woke up with some bug bites. It seems some little insect (although I doubt disease-carrying) found its way into our peaceful bed. Ew! I was a little creeped out, but instead of being mad, I just smiled as I stripped those pretty red flowers, threw them into my automatic washing machine, which I can put on a HOT cycle, and thanked God that I am fortunate enough to have an extra set of sheets.

I AM BLESSED.

8 comments:

Behn and Meg said...

The Lord has been speaking to me similarly...convicting me, reminding me that He has blessed me with so many comforts and protected me and my family from harm. How simple to turn on the sink and wash my dishes? I don't have to carry my own water for miles. Heck, I don't have to LOOK for water. We have food, clothes...everything we need when so many suffer. It's especially been a reality check seeing those suffering in Africa right now. Thanks for posting and keeping it real.

Be STill And Know That I Am God said...

...just returned from a week long women's disaster relief team called Drop in the Bucket. We saw the aftermath of the Joplin, MO tornado and helped organize the Joplin Salvation Army donations center. Makes you realize how unimportant the "frills of life" are when others do not even have the basics. Reminds me of the lyrics of a song..."I don't want to gain the whole world and lose my soul...." So I have to ask the question, "What if we CHOSE to be poorer so others could be richer?" No more name brand labels and no more victims to the "gotta have more" ads on TV...enough is enough...there are lots of ways to volunteer to help the poor!! I remember a missionary who came to speak at our church and told us that he never knew what a bed was until he was 12 yrs. old! He slept on a bed for the FIRST TIME when he was 12. The man's life in Christ is amazing and God is using him all over the world...Jesus didn't even have a pillow to lay His head on...and we feel deprived if we don't have the comforts of life. May Matthew 10 become a reality for all of us!! Jesus teaches us that the Kingdom of Heaven needs to be shared with others! Conviction from the Holy Spirit is not the same as shame. Conviction from God will always motivate us to change/repent/transform. Shame just leaves us in our sin & punishes us...stagnating our souls & results in no good deeds, only more darkness and sin...I hope everyone is convicted by God whenever we see someone who needs a cup of cold water or a word of encouragement or the coat off my back or disaster relief help. Disasters really do correct our perspectives and get us back in line with God's mission for our lives. May we abandon all comforts for the sake of the conviction of our souls and be counted as sheep and not goats!! : )

PattieKate said...

I love the way our Lord teaches us to be grateful. It's so sweet and tender...all we have to do is grasp it! I loved this sweet story.

livymawi said...

I love this post! And I relate on many levels. We're in a season of life that's making me realize how selfish and ungrateful I am. My perspective is changing and though it's not an easy process, I'm also realizing how rich I am. Thanks for sharing.

Aimee L. Salter said...

Beautiful and thought-provoking and... yes, convicting too. Thank you so much for sharing all of that! (And I hope your visit goes well *wink*)

Carrie said...

We are truly immeasurably blessed! Thanks for the reminder.

Jenn said...

I don't at all mean to take away from how meaningful this post is, but......... Do you really wash your hands when you take your kids to pee in the middle of the night?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Oh! Baby Designs said...

I loved this post. Made me tear up. And the older I'm getting, the more I appreciate the LITTLE things in life.