Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Art of not covetting

Last week I took our daughter over to a friend's house to rehearse for a talent show they are auditioning for. As soon as I saw the name of the subdivision I knew instantly that the family lived in a big house. Not by the specific name, but by that fact that they HAD a sub name. My neighbors and I all joke that we should come up with an elaborate title for the entrance to our sub. Something like "Beverly Hills Estates". You see, our subdivision was founded in 1950 something and back then it was just streets that slowly gained more houses. Our street happens to house the oldest homes and mixed in between the "ancient ones" there are some built in the 70's, 80's and 90's. It is a cute neighborhood filled with many full grown trees, wooded areas and dead ends to make us feel safe and comfortable. Thats mainly why we chose the little ranch style home we bought 5 yrs ago. We loved the neighborhood.

Most of the time, I can drive right by the gigantic homes that continually are constructed around our city and not have too many thoughts about them. But last week, I was faced with the reality that we are living in a very financially divided area. After the rehearsal was over, I picked Hannah up and the father and I arranged for the girls to practice again on Saturday afternoon. This time, however it was our turn to host. As I pulled into our driveway with those thoughts in my head I took in the 950 sq foot home before me. It looked like a garage compared to the homes I had just left. I had to fight the feeling that I may be embarrassed for Hannah's friend to come over and see where we lived. I wondered what the father would think as he drove up. Would he be shocked at the small stature of the place we call home? Would he think we were poor?
I always have tried to put the thoughts of what other people think behind me, but honestly that is one of my biggest down falls. Whether in relationships, social functions or just the general publics view, I want people to think my family is important. I don't mean "important" in the sense that we should be honored but just that we are more than what car we drive, where we buy our kids' clothes and where we live. I am so tired of feeling labeled and knowing there is not much I can do about it. Living in a very mixed population has advantages but we all have to face that those same advantages also come with many stereotypes and misunderstandings. We are not where we shop or what labels we wear. We are all people.

This afternoon as I dropped off our son in an even larger sub for a party, I drove off in my 95 Honda and thought how lucky I am.

The people in those huge homes may have a lot of money, nice furniture and new cars, but I have the opportunity to be home in the afternoon when my kids get off the bus. I can volunteer in school without taking a day off of work. I can enjoy motherhood without the pressures of a boss, sick days and all the other things that would follow along with a job.

A job that could make it possible for us to one day buy one of those same houses.

I think I'll take my neighborhood instead.


At 3:49 PM, Blogger Ms. Right Now said...

It is hard not to compare up, isn't it? It's so funny how prone we are to compare up, rather than compare down. My tiny studio apartment with the tempermental plumbing, funky smelling water, and anything-but-soundproof not much, and I sometimes find myself thinking, "I wish I had a bigger place, with a seperate living room and bedroom...a place I could invite my friends to and know that we can all be seated comfortably...yadda yadda yadda."

There are those wonderful moments though, when I am able to see that what I have may not be much, but it is infintely better than where I was a year ago, or where I could be but for the grace of God and His provision for my needs. There are many people who would give anything to have an apartment like mine, or a house like yours. What I have may not be much compared to what others have, but it is a lot compared to where so many others are in life.

I am sure that if I wanted to work a second or third job, I could afford a better place. But then, when would I even have time to enjoy it? I love the job that I have, and while it doesn't pay a lot, it does allow me to do something fulfilling and it pays enough to meet my basic needs. All in all, when I look at my life, I truly think there isn't a whole lot more I could ask for. Life is simple, and that is a wonderful thing.


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