Wednesday, February 10, 2016

...needs more porch sittin'.

"Sometimes, we are so attached to our way of life that we turn down a wonderful opportunity simply because we don't know what to do with it." - Paul Coelho

Question: What are you giving up for Lent? 

Grace and I have done a lot of thinking on the subject this morning and we’ve had a few realizations we’d like to share. For instance, we have successfully given up fast food (Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, etc.) for 231+ days now! Don't get me wrong, there's been mornings when we’d love a grande venti whatchamacallit latte (it's too hot here lets go with frappachino), but we don't miss waiting in long lines of people both patient and impatient to get it. There’s a lot of other things as well that although we desire them on occasion, we’ve realized we get along just fine without (231+ days and counting). Some of that list includes the common things we would normally try to give up for Lent, thinking we were sacrificing something that would make life difficult and thereby honor God and remember the trials of Jesus in the wilderness. The list includes TV (Netflix, News, Sports), sweet tea, milkshakes, and social media sites (really just Pinterest here because it eats up all our data). As we’ve sat and talked through what we’d like to sacrifice for Lent, we’ve realized that all the things we’ve been tempted by in the past are gradually fading away. Sure we’d love a milkshake every now and again and missing the Super Bowl and upcoming NCAA basketball tournaments is a bit of a bummer, but we relish the time that the absence of what we don't really need gives us. The walks through our community, stopping to talk to school children, laughing with our family out on the veranda, relaxing in the hammock, the early morning sun peeking through the trees while working in the garden, but beginning to identify what we can and can't sacrifice isn't all we’ve realized. We’ve begun to see some of the things that we take for granted that millions of people all over the world and here in Swaziland live without everyday. The most notable among them…machines. Specifically, washing and dishwashing machines. Much of our time on weekends that has been freed up by the absence of football on TV or a milkshake run has been replaced by laundry. If you really want to challenge yourself for Lent consider giving up your washer and dryer! All in all, we've begun to really appreciate/admire the resilience of the everyday living and I think we’re beginning to understand the difference between what is a temptation and what is a necessity.

For those of you who are wondering our Lent plans, we’ve resolved to add some things to life here because we’re not quite sure what to give up. At the top of the list is to drink more water. A necessity we don't consume enough of. Also, we’re going to try to wake up earlier and join the Swazis who start their days early to avoid the heat, and we’re also going to limit talking to things that don't talk back. I don't how to explain about the last one…it happens. Finally, we’re going to spend more time out on our porch, enjoying the time we’ve been given to appreciate God’s grand creations and enjoying some of the simpler things in life, like a cool breeze. 

Happy Ash Wednesday.

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