Sunday, May 30, 2010

Roughing It

Life is challenging in the "roughing it without plumbing" days.  At times I feel like a homeless person, even though I do indeed have a home. But those who live in their car or in a cardboard box on the sidewalk or perhaps underneath a bridge are challenged with the same thing I'm challenged with--searching for a bathroom on a daily basis. It is only now that I have a better understanding of what that is like and what it must be like every day for those whose situation is not temporary. The things we take for granted are the basic necessities everyone needs, and it's not until we find ourselves without them do we realize just how valuable they truly are.

The neighborhood grocery store has been a godsend for my family, open from 6 am until 12 midnight, seven days a week.  Oh, we've visited other stores and restaurants as well, but this particular store is 3 minutes away by car. Yes, I've timed it. When my husband and I were house-hunting 13 years ago, I had a checklist which included nearby stores. There HAD to be stores close enough to walk to. Back then we only had one car which my husband drove to work every day, leaving me car-less. I remember that hot August when we moved in, walking my three kids over to their new school for registration. Yes, walking them there. I don't know how many miles away it was, but it would take about 10 minutes to drive there. But since I had no car, we walked in that awful heat.

Most of the inconveniences I've faced in life pale when compared to this current crisis.  I would love to take a shower, but I can only take a sponge bath. (we're having 80 degree weather here) I would love to cook real meals on the stove, but that would mean having to wash dishes and I can't do that. I would love to use my own bathroom instead of public restrooms, but flushing the toilet would create a disaster down cellar. I would love to wash clothing in my own washing machine instead of running to the laundromat, but that would create a flood all over my cellar floor.

The things we take for granted are the things I will cherish as soon as my situation improves and life is back to normal.

In our time we have luxuries we take for granted--electricity, indoor plumbing, heat, air conditioning, running water, telephones, computers, televisions, etc. Take one thing away and life gets very stressful and throws us off balance.

I have a better appreciation now of what life is like for those who have nothing or very little. I am enormously thankful to have a roof over my head. I am going to make a solemn vow to stop complaining about petty problems now that I see how fortunate I've always been.

And I think maybe this happened for a reason so I could learn from it.

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