The Ordinary opportunity
Life here is full of ordinary things that give us opportunities to learn. For instance, laundry....clothes inevitably get dirty. However, washing here is more involved than it was back home. You don't just put the clothes in the machine and then transfer them to the next. You scrub them in needed spots (which are plentiful with two littles), then you put them in the machine, it soaks up soap and sloshes them around, then you rinse them by hand and spin them with a machine. Lest you think that's it, then you hang each piece to line dry and then you wait to fold and put them away before the process is complete. Whew! Since we are entering dry season, we have decided to do laundry once a week to conserve water. However, that makes for a full day of laundry when the time comes! We know it can be an easier process as our experience in the States has been, but we also know it could be more difficult too. Many of our neighbors don't have the luxury of a machine to help wash and spin at all. So? It's an opportunity to be grateful and humbled.
As Brian can attest to, there's also no such thing as Walmart or Target....a one stop shop. If you want to buy pharmacy supplies such as shaving cream or bar soap, you go to a different store than where you would buy food. Oh, and if you want fresh produce you would shop at the market rather than in a store at all. If you want furniture that will take you to another store and office supplies yet another.....and that doesn't even cover all the sections you'd find in a one stop shop in the good old USA! Again, it's an ordinary experience to 'go shopping,' but here it looks so different and it gives us an opportunity to learn.
Getting somewhere "on time" is generally a given for us as we often live our lives by the clock. It just seems ordinary to do that, but this Sunday we arrived at church....late and there were very few people there. One of the missionaries informed us that it was an overcast day and the sun was not shining brightly. Most people here don't use clocks or really have any regard for time other than where the sun is at and when the sun goes up and down....just another ordinary thing that gives us an opportunity to learn patience.
This week our home country will celebrate their Independence as a nation. There are many freedoms that are enjoyed in the USA, but dare I call out that they are FREEDOMS, not entitlements. So many of the things that I find 'different' from the USA in PNG rest in that very realization. It is very EASY to FEEL entitled because that is what culture in the USA has taught me. I DESERVE a break after working hard or I DESERVE to spend money on something for myself after I've helped out someone less fortunate. No. No, I do not deserve it. No, I did not earn it. I made the decision to work hard or sacrifice for another and isn't that enough reward in and of itself?
Likewise if I base my eternal destination upon what I deserve or what I've earned, I am in a very sorry state because nothing I can ever do will give me the right to spend eternity in heaven. However, because my Savior, Jesus Christ, had compassion and showed love to an unworthy soul, I can accept His gift of atonement and choose to live for Him. He has given all for me. It is a slight thing to give all I can for Him. The ordinary rights and privileges that I have experienced in the past give me an opportunity to be grateful afresh and worship the Creator of life, not the creation of an 'ideal' life. This Independence Day, I'm celebrating the ordinary and calling it opportunity.
Why expect an ordinary bridge, when we can be thankful for an opportunity to reach people in hard to get places!
Fun can even be found in the ordinary at times....unofficial twins day!