instant illumination

“Set your mind on things above, not on things of earth.” Colossians 3:2

In writing about our new adventure and the town that we are getting to know, I realize that I have painted an image in your mind that is very idyllic. Perhaps it is time that I come clean and confess that it isn’t Mayberry as some have suggested. In fact, there are some very sad realities that accompany many of the people who live here. Generational problems abound. Substance abuse is common. There is a lot of hopelessness. However, I get to choose what to focus on and thankfully those situations are not the complete picture. I can stare at the trash or the treasure. I can focus on the frustrating or the fascinating. I can complain about what I don’t have or focus on what I do. I’m given the same choice every. single. morning.

Yesterday I was still disappointed to be washing my dishes by hand. Today our new dishwasher ran it’s maiden cycle while we went to town. Ironically, while my dishes were being automatically sanitized and dried, I had the opportunity to receive a healthy perspective adjustment through a visit with Norca, an adorable mom who grew up in South America and later moved to the United States after meeting her husband. Norca and her husband moved to this area about 12 years ago and purchased some undeveloped land. Six years ago, tired of spending money on rent, they purchased a trailer and between that and a barn/shop they and their two sons moved onto their property twenty-five minutes outside of town which (get this) has no internet, no electricity, and no running water. Sweet Norca fills up a 200 gallon water tank once a month which she then heats up on the stove as needed to wash dishes and bathe with. In the evenings they use kerosene lanterns or headlamps for light. Once a week they visit the library to use the computer. “I just tell my friends that it’s like camping!” she told me with an accent and a smile. If that wasn’t amazing enough, her husband is gone for months at a time for work leaving Norca to adventure bravely alone with her two sons. Suddenly my dishwasher fiasco seemed somewhat small and embarrassingly insignificant. I certainly didn’t mention it during the course of our conversation. Can’t you just imagine me pipping in, “Wow, you heat up your water and wash your dishes by hand while wearing a headlamp at night? You’ve been doing that for the last six years? I can totally relate, I’ve been hand washing dishes myself for the past month. We are kinda like Little House on the Prairie twins!” Ridiculous right? Isn’t that the beauty of perspective? Like a kerosene lamp, it illuminates areas that need more light and keeps in the shadows those places that truly don’t deserve our attention.

As I move forward into tomorrow, I pray that God will grant me the ability to see things through His perspective and help me to keep that which is eternal in focus.

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