Monday, February 8, 2010

Living Without


Do you know what the temperature is outside? 1 degree. 1 is the loneliest number, it is the number of spouses you have, the number of lives you have to live, it was never supposed to be a temperature! But, fortunately I am in a warm and cozy apartment. Today was a pretty typical day. I woke up very late, graded exams, managed without the water (it wasn’t bad at all, it started working but then came out brown, yuck!), and then went to work. I decided that Mondays and Thursdays are not going to be my favorites. I have a private tutee at 4, I have discussion right at 5 and I have kids at 7. My regular classes meet from 5:30-7:00 and from 7:30-9:00. So basically I have to work 5 hours without a break to fill my tea cup, print an assignment, or prepare for the next lesson. I have to actually be prepared! I’m telling you these people are working me to death! Ha, it’s funny how you get used to free time and when its gone you feel like you’ve just been robbed of your most valuable possession.

Steven and I went to the supermarket with the girls the other day. We went to get some groceries. We only had 2,000 tenge left from our “lunch money.” So we got what we needed and headed to the register. We quickly realized that we weren’t going to have enough. We ended up having to put some non-necessities back. It was a humbling experience. We’re poor. I kind of find some adventure in it. Living on 12 bucks a week is definitely one of those things that helps you grow and learn how to live “simply.” Living simply has literally been shoved out of Western culture, especially in America. We like things, it’s not that we mean to be selfish and materialistic, it’s just the way we’re wired. We like things and we don’t have that natural impulse telling us that we could do without. I think George Washington and Thomas Jefferson must have killed it. Don’t get me wrong, many Americans are extremely generous and kind people, but I know some poor people who have really nice flat screen TV’s and nifty gadgets and only in America will you find overweight homeless people. I’ll be the first to admit that living simply is beyond me. I know that Jesus lived simply, but when I think about the whole thing I get uncomfortable. I want my expensive clothes and kitchen appliances. I like my TV and my computer. And I’d be kidding you if I said I wouldn’t like to be “well off.” In my dreams I have a lake house, surrounded by surreal mountains, with a really nice room to sit and write, I have a few jet skies, and no doubt there is a $400 blender in my kitchen. Sure, I plan on giving to charities and funding some ministries, but only as long as I get to keep my blender. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being rich or even anything wrong with being engrossed in the American lifestyle. It is who we are, but I am being humbled, and I secretly like it under all my disappointment from putting back the brown sugar. Money is money, it is the passionate greed within us that’s the evil one. Whatever you do, just be generous with what you have.

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