Because Josh and I are only temporarily located in Lacey, Washington, we have decided to live on a small amount of things. Rather than buy furniture and things that we would have to sell or rent a truck to move, we are mostly just making due with what we have.
Thus, we are sleeping on a 2″ mattress topper and using a cardboard box as our table. I must admit, at times it is aggravating that I don’t currently own many of the deemed “essentials” of an American household. It’s kind of hard to make a bed when the blankets just fall onto the floor over the edge of the 2″ foam. It’s difficult to relax when there are no chairs to sit on. And I often forget, when cooking, that I don’t have everything I need. For instance, I bought a can of soup only to realize I didn’t have a can opener ( I since bought one, no need to send one over).
At the same time, living life with a few things is exciting and fun. I have to be creative to make things work. For instance, I used a piece of cloth and the place mats Mom made me to spruce up our cardboard box table. I used fresh garlic to give food flavor because I didn’t have any spices to fall back on. And I shredded the cheese by slicing small bits at a time (this took awhile, but it worked). It all makes for a far more interesting life amidst the mundane tasks that just don’t seem to ever go away.
Amongst all this, I have found myself realizing that I am a selfish being who merely wants to live the “American dream.” “I want these certain dishes, these certain nice plush towels, this nice flatware” and no desire to compromise “because everyone else gets these things, why can’t I”? But how pathetic is that? Did I learn nothing in Argentina? We need so little to survive and do well. The “essential” American cupboard is not essential at all. I am not claiming that one should throw away all they have but what I am saying is that the material possessions are not important. What is important is that I answer the call to follow Christ in faith and obedience. In order to do that, all the obstacles that could separate me from the will of God (such as a reliance upon material possessions and a desire to live out the American dream) must be renounced. Following Christ requires obedience and it is in that act of obedience that faith is made possible. As Bonhoeffer states: “Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes” (The Cost of Discipleship 63).