An hour ago, as I laid my toasted English muffin on a plate and prepared to smother it in a rich layer of butter, I stopped the knife short of its double-wide serving. Butter is a luxury, I reminded myself, and the butter was sliced thin. Just enough.
My little family is currently in this alluringly curious season of life where my husband, though he has a fantastic job on the horizon, is out of work for a month, putting our next paycheck six weeks out. Which is ironically the amount of time it takes to receive your first unemployment check. This season, my friends, is a gift. I knew it as such the very moment that the scales were removed from my eyes and I saw the warm home, the potatoes, the electricity…it’s all a gift. Every single day. But it’s hard to see the gifts when we take it all for granted; when it’s all part of the background…when it just gets paid for with the click of automatic bill pay.
This morning a friend sent this quote: The things we see every day are the things we never see at all. ~G.K. Chesterton (Mr. G happens to be my new imaginary bff.)
This simple quote took my breath away. I glanced at my candle then, how it’s getting shorter, melting into oblivion. And oh, why do my precious candles have to be a luxury? I see them every day, but I never really see them at all…until now…counting it as blessing and grace to have a candle burning steadily by my side.
In 2004, I sat on a plane floating over the Atlantic, convulsing in silent tears. I was horrified by the prospect of landing in my home country, full of superstores and designer coffees. I had just spent six months in Europe, three of which were long, bitter-cold days in Serbia. We walked the two kilometers into town each day, stepping around frozen-dead dogs and frozen laundry on the line. My eyes were opened to the glorious beauty that happens when excess is stripped away, laying bare the gifts of life. It took less than two weeks for my restless heart to be consumed by the layers of American greed. I was enveloped in it; wearing it like a thick cloak of distraction.
That husband of mine, he’s been a record on repeat about consumption and what it does to us. How we were designed to consume, but to what end? If we are eating up STUFF, do we have enough space to consume beauty? Or the love of the Father? Or the ordinary gifts that pile around us while we hungrily search for more? Scavengers, we are. While the husband spoke, I scribbled his words in my journal: Our desire for what we WANT is greater than what the world has the resources to provide or satisfy.
Will you join me in attempting to see the everyday things this week? To think twice before consuming?
This present of time, it will only last a mere six weeks. Then the paycheck will come and I will sprint headlong into Marshall’s and buy up their candle aisle. But for now, I smile at my dwindling candlestick, counting its breath of life as a sweet gift.
“Meaningless does not come from being weary of pain. Meaningless comes from being weary of pleasure.” ~G.K. Chesterton