Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The privilege of privilege... and why I whine about it.

I dropped my toothpaste in the toilet last week. I fished it out (before I thought to take a picture of it for this blog) and chucked it directly into the trash can.

Disgusted? No doubt.

Frustrated? Honestly, I was frustrated for only an instant. I was frustrated for as long as it took me to throw the 'tarnished tube' away, wash my hands (gag), open the under-sink cabinet, and get out a fresh tube. The fresh tube even had 'whitening' enhancing flakes (or whatever they're called).

As I've thought about that, I have a flashback image in my mind of some Jamaicans cutting open toothpaste tubes to get the last little bit, scraping the inside of the tube almost spotless. As I left the island after my first of two mission trips to that country, our team was asked to leave behind anything, including half-used toothpaste tubes, that would be used by local people. And so I did the 'noble' thing- I made the monumental and sacrificial easy decision to leave behind my travel-sized toothpaste tube, that was half-used.

I could talk about how much I hate the triple-digit heat in Kansas lately. But I'd also have to share about how I have working air conditioning in my car and in my home.

I could talk to you about how frustrating it is to be in life transition and work in a place that seems about as far from my life calling as it could be. I could write how frustrated it is not to feel like you know your life calling yet. I could even write a blog about those frustrations, and come off as a whining, disenfranchised brat. (I've been reevaluating my 'contest entry' if you hadn't noticed)

But, after talking about those job/life frustrations, I'd have to tell you that I am able to pay my bills. My belly would tell you that I eat well. I'd have to tell you that I am gradually paying off debt. I'd have to honestly tell you that I don't really lack for anything.

Toothpaste-air conditioning-stable income...  all things that I take for granted. And these are all things that the majority of the people in the world do not have, and don't even hope for. Sad, isn't it. I could tell you of the countless things that I have in my cabinets and drawers that some people will never have. And more sadly, I could give you more examples of what I have, what I am blessed with, and what I take for granted.

I've come really close to deleting my last post- my 'contest entry.' It was more venting than coherent (or beneficial) thoughts. It was something that you write, think better of, and delete.

But I chose not to. I know, in retrospect, that it represents, not the glossy and polished look of someone that I am proud portraying, but the honest and raw look of how selfish and tunnel-visioned my focus is at times. It portrays more of the truly human heart that beats in my chest, that often questions God's timing and goodness, and wonders why have I have to 'suffer' through periods of transition and doubt.

In it's best light, my 'whining blog' represents the honest seeking of a heart that really desires to live for God. In it's' worst light, it reflects the heart of someone who is truly blessed, but doesn't know it fully.

Why the whine?

I think any North American Christian whines and complains about anything because he/she doesn't realize how blessed and privileged he/she is.

In my saner moments, I realize that, and repent of it to a God who does nothing but lavish me with good things.

In my 'human' moments, I kick and scream like a spoiled baby, thinking that the world revolves around me.

If I could rewrite my contest entry, I would say that I want to live a bigger story because it more rightly and winsomely reflects the Author of the Biggest Story.

I would write that living a bigger and better story reflects that 'top line/bottom line' view (that I learned in Perspectives) of the Biggest Story that says we are blessed, not to selfishly enjoy and live comfortably (and lazily), but so that we might pass that blessing on to others.

I would write that I want to live a bigger story, because that's the reality- I am part of a great story. And all the bumps that I complain about are only lending themselves to the drama and intrigue leading up to the perfect ending.

(I'm going to reread this blog, hopefully, when I forget)


[priv-uh-lij, priv-lij]  noun, verb, -leged, -leg·ing.
1.a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most: the privileges of the very rich.

If you're reading this, you, like me, are privileged. You are among the 'very rich.' You are living beyond the advantages of most.

May we live, give, and love accordingly.
And may I do all three first, before expecting it from anyone else.


tami August 3, 2010 at 9:48 PM  

thanks for the reminder, jim. so glad that - at least for a season (or two - since we grew up as little kids together, too) - we get to walk *on the journey* with you...

Momma H August 4, 2010 at 12:18 PM  

Ho man. This hits hard. I am always complaining of the JUNK that has accumulated in my basement (and the rest of the house) over the last 33 yrs living here. It is nuts, but I'm always going to look for, and often buy, MORE JUNK!!
Consumerism/Materialism seems to be alive and well here. Time for repentence and purging - again.

We the Hornings August 9, 2010 at 9:41 PM  

I appreciated reading this, Jimminy...it was neat to hear your heart.

We the Hornings August 9, 2010 at 9:41 PM  

I enjoyed reading this post, Jimminy...it was neat to hear your heart.

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