I am writing up this blog post on Sunday, November 4, 2012 and I’ll most likely post this tomorrow at my college campus. I have gone a little under a week now without electricity in my home. I live in an area that was somewhat affected by the recent hurricane. Members of my family have stood in line for hours waiting for gas only to reach the pump to learn that the station had run out of gas. It’s funny because the day before this happened to my dad I was reading in my Microeconomics textbook about long lines at the gas pump and how a lot of gas stations have price ceilings that cause this. Funny how this piece of knowledge didn’t seem particularly helpful at the moment and not nearly as interesting to my dad as it was to me.
I still have my phone, my laptop, and the ability to go places with electricity for limited periods of time. Regardless of this fact, this week has honestly sucked. It sucked because I now have to come to terms with the fact that my conditions are not that horrible but they feel horrible to me. I just overheard my parents saying that the store ran out of candles. How does a store run out of candles? I have never used candles so much in my life, or for any purpose other than making my room smell delicious.
So far all I’ve had to really endure is painfully cold showers, cold food and lots of quality time with my family but I find myself complaining so much. And being honest the food this week has kind of rocked, I’ve been eating out every meal. It’s just something about eating Chinese under 3 layers of clothing that makes it slightly less enjoyable. I’m kind of angry right now that I can’t just go online and check my blog or my email. I’m angry that I’ve been slowly eating up all my 3G to take cool vintage looking pictures of my cousins on instagram. Yes, I have time for that and this is keeping in mind the fact that I have so much online homework that has yet to be touched.
I’ll stop complaining right now though for a number of reasons. For one, complaints on my part do nothing to help my situation. Maybe if I complained to the right people my story would be different though… Regardless, unto my second point which is the fact that this hurricane made me realize a lot. It made me think about the things that I value in my life and just how temporary they are. This time last week people were alive who are no longer alive, homes were standing that are now flooded or burned to the ground. This time last week some people’s lives were completely different and are now forever changed. That’s the kind of world we walk through everyday and past a widespread disaster like this, there is no promise bad things won’t happen in our lives.
I realize that it may sound so stupid but this past week I reevaluated some of the things I valued most in my life. After church service today I was asking a missionary who came to my church about her work in India. She was working to stop human sex trafficking in India from Utra Pradesh to Calcutta (I think! Definitely spelled wrong). She was explaining this whole idea that families are so poor and cannot afford to pay dowries for their daughters to get married. Because of this when men come to their homes promising to give their daughters jobs in North India cleaning or serving and get paid for this they jump at the opportunity. They fail to realize that is essentially a scam and the work their daughter actually do is offer they bodies daily for a price. These are the problems for some people.
When I hear about those types of problems I can’t help but feel like my problems are so small and insignificant in comparison. Here I was literally complaining that my shower wasn’t warm enough for me while I still had the opportunity to go to college. I still have a hope for my future while that’s not the case for a lot of other people out there in the world. After this hurricane I can still say I have a roof over my head, my entire family is safe and the worst of it is a problem that will eventually go away.
This is something I believe I will always struggle with, because I like my life being easy. I’m reminded of James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I am also reminded of a verse my friend shared with me that was underlined in her bible to remind her who her source of strength was, “But David found his strength in the Lord his God.”
God could very easily make each one of our lives so easy, but then anything worth having in life would lose its value. A preacher was saying today that the actual power held in something is not what it can do, but what it cannot do. If I held my circumstances in my hands I would have buckled a lot earlier with dealing with life without electricity. I literally did not think I could handle it, but I did handle it and I can continue to deal with it. This is virtually nothing on the grand scheme of things and I can’t help but want to hash tag first world problems after every sentence I write.
If you feel like things are hard right now, realize that when things are the hardest you are growing the most. God is not quite finished with me yet, I’d be kind of sad if he was! There’s always room for me to grow as a person and I’m grateful for every bad thing in my life. I hope that I can always be grateful. I aspire to be like Job and rejoice in my sufferings, as small as they may seem. Because even when things get a little bit hard, its hard for me to praise God. But I praise God for this hurricane, I praise him for knowing me better than I know myself and for giving me another day in my life and giving me life period. Because I know that I do not deserve any of these things, but God still gave them to me.