Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Random and Raw Thoughts on Poverty, Wealth and Guilt

This is a journey--the thoughts, the struggles, the tension that surround the vast divide between wealth and poverty. As I laid in bed last night, I thought of my clothes dryer. Random, I know. But, it has been raining for about 10 days straight now...nothing dries; in fact, things that were dry have become damp. We are thankful to have a "secadora" (a clothes dryer). Generally, we try to hang laundry on the clothesline when we can...but that has been impossible this week (unless we are looking for an endless rinse cycle). As I lay there in bed, I realized that, at times, I have guilt over owning and using the dryer, a luxury item of sorts. I don't want to feel guilty for using my dryer....so, why do I? Thus, I started thinking about the "blessings" we have...particularly because here in Nicaragua I can see clearly the contrast between "have" and "have not". If my friend "Sally", who doesn't have a dryer, had one...she'd use it and be happy about it, right? Perhaps, those that don't have the "blessings" that I have....maybe they have other blessings that I don't have. Do they feel guilty for having something that I don't have? Really, these "blessings" (their's or mine)are from the Lord...so if I struggle to enjoy them...am I essentially scoffing at God, who gifted them to me?

I continue to search Scripture for answers and perspective. Sometimes that seems to muddy the waters...but then isn't that what we need the Holy Spirit and wisdom for...to learn and grow through the struggle. Again, I find myself at Paul's words to the Philippians in chapter 4:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

I'd like to know Paul's secret...because, quite honestly, I am not content. I guess I will press on...seeking that learned contentment that Paul talks about...learning to enjoy the gifts that God has given me without guilt, but rather with an attitue of gratitude and willingness to share. It is ironic, isn't it? If I were in the States, I'd probably be struggling with not being content because I'd be wanting more...and yet, what I had there is more than I have here. Interesting.