One time, my friend – a teenager who lives more or less on their own – told me about how that week they had been woken up by a rat chewing on their finger.
Let that sink in a second.
My friend, who I do life with, looked at me, and casually apologized for being tired. And this was his reason why.
But months later I totally forget or disregard that as I swore I saw something in my room yesterday and that is confirmed today with a TAIL attached to something running too fast to be seen around the corners of my room, just to be hidden again.
I’m distracted from work now and frustrated that I don’t have the time or energy to take apart my room for this creature that will run away too fast to be caught as I move things around anyway. I am already feeling the yearning for comfortable America this month as the “camping style” of living here (no windows so there is dust everywhere, air outside is the air inside, bugs on bugs) combined with being sick has made my heart whiny, in all honesty.
And then I remember my friend. That off hand comment – said as fact, not a sob story or a “what will you do for me” or “life is so hard”, but just as a “yeah, sorry I yawned – A RAT WAS CHEWING MY FINGER NO BIG DEAL” comment. And honestly – if I continue to get this frustrated with life not being as comfortable as what I was born in – am I not saying, “I mean, I know HE has that living condition, but I’m used to something different, so…”? Aren’t I sitting here, and at the root of my thoughts, wanting justice for others but while also getting to keep my life where it is?
I only hear the thought, “Well, why were ______ many people born into poverty and we weren’t?” once every few weeks due to the nature of what I do. But when life hits and it’s hard to do something about that difference…is my attitude reflecting an uglier heart than I’d life to admit?
It is no more or less okay for an American to wake up to a rat chewing on their finger than one of my friends here just because an American is not used to it – and yet THIS IS HOW WE LIVE.
We go, “That is awful! That is not okay!”
I write, “Sit and really think about that for a moment.”
And we do, and we believe it’s not okay –
But then we get uncomfortable and we are much more upset and much more prone to do something about it.
And can you imagine the social media post to one of your middle class American friends waking up the way my friend did?
Can you imagine MY post if I woke up how my friend did.
So, confession. I’m a self-centered human, like we all are. I’m pretty sure that as I learn more about my heart, I am way too comfortable staying comfortable and justifying, “This is the lifestyle I’m used to!”
And I am blown away by the grace offered to me despite my whining heart wanting temporary comforts. And the patience to teach me another way. And the love as opposed to condemnation when I crack open my ribs while staring in the mirror to see some muck and junk up in this heart of mine.