I really mean that. Waking up is hard enough already. But adding mint flavor to a super-sized portion of “sparkle” foam is like begging for your own personalized, intensively jarring morning experience.
I also hate computer speakers that don’t work. There’s something about static sound bites flashing in-and-out that just drives me nuts.
And I hate banana soup. I like bananas. I like soup. Together, it’s a mockery of two beautiful realities.
Not that I’m complaining. I think most everybody in life at one time or another has suffered through the wrong tube of toothpaste. And I’m sure that, in their desperate moments, others have also typed their papers one-handedly to hold the speakers in place for their background music.
Anyway, don’t get me wrong: the donations we receive into our house really are impressive. I go out to pick up donations myself, and I can testify: people have been good to us in a way that is more than humbling.
Yet, in spite of knowing that, I still find myself staring down at this banana soup with a bit of nostalgia for the hamburgers of my college years. Call me human, but there are just those moments when the past seems to loom out before you like a wistful dream. Imagine—there was a time when I had a wallet with money in it. Usually at least enough to buy a cheeseburger at Effie’s.
What am I doing here?
It’s a question I ask every once in awhile. After all, I still have a lot of life stretching out in front of me. When did I choose this? What happened to that idea of backpacking across Europe and drinking wine outside French cafés? What about the bucket list I made with my sorority sisters during those whitewater rafting trips in the summer? How did my Saturday nights move from black light dance clubs to this chilly theology study hall?
I mean, I even traded in my tie dye.
So to say that my life has not quite gone the way I expected would be an understatement. I have loved my decision to consecrate my life to God: I really have. But, let’s face it—without a cent to my name, there are definitely little “bumps” that come unexpectedly. And, for every inconvenience that having zero money brings, there’s always a little reflective moment like this. The pattern is pretty predictable. Usually it starts about that time when pastoral projects are due, fieldwork reports are coming, a long-lost friend from college calls to talk for three hours, and that last essay -- due this afternoon -- is still stuck on the introduction. After a morning of wrestling with most of them at the same time, the clock strikes one and I carry the big “stress bundle” down with me to lunch.
Right then and there, I have a choice. I can either stare it down through the whole “bless us O Lord”, willing it into a juicy steak…or I can close my eyes, thank God for His goodness, and spend the rest of my lunch in deep thought. As the first option has never, unfortunately, changed the menu, I usually opt for the latter. I suppose that’s where you came in toward the beginning of this reflection: “What am I doing here?”
Well, welcome to my daily existential moments: brought to you by my promise of poverty. Although they can come with their fair share of irritation, I find at the end of the day, that it is usually those moments of inconvenience that give me the greatest light into my life.
Why? Because when you are muscling down the first spoonful of gray soup, you better have a good reason. And, frequently enough, I find the reason crystal clear.
I fell for a radical. And I wanted to be just like him.
Before I committed to this life, he warned me that he didn’t have a place to rest his head. He promised me a life of sacrifice. And he reminded me that “those who live in luxury are found in kings’ courts.”(Luke 7:25)
Well, I am following a king. But that king left the his courts for the battlefield.
And I want to fight next to him.
So, if it’s the price to pay to understand Him from the inside…to really know what it means to give everything for the Kingdom…then bring me poverty.
I love the mission.
I love my King.
And that’s worth each little sacrifice out there.