Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Roll-away in the Dining Room...

A friend of ours was telling the story of how he and his brothers lived with his parents in a very small house growing up. His parents had one bedroom and the children were divided out around the rest of the house. One of his brothers slept on a couch in the living room and he slept with another brother on a roll-away mattress in the dining room.

That story has stayed in my mind all week. By today's standards, many of us would consider ourselves quite put-out if we had to sleep in the dining room, without any space at all in the house to call "our own". But the main part of our friend's story was how happy they had been growing up. He finished his story by saying, "I guess we were poor, but we didn't know we were poor!"

My sister and I were talking today about our remembrances of growing up. I couldn't remember any birthday parties as a child, and I asked her if we had celebrated our birthdays with parties. No, she couldn't remember having them either. There were no family vacations until all of the children except me, were grown. We rarely went out to eat. Life was very simple. During the summer, you weren't really allowed to stay in the house (if you did, Momma put you to work!) And yet I grew up feeling quite blessed and fortunate. Visiting today the house in which I grew up, would make me wonder how two adults and four children lived in such a small space.

One thing is that we didn't have commercials then to tell us what we should have. We didn't have someone on television constantly showing us every ten minutes or so what the latest and greatest gadget or car or house or job was available. We didn't have someone telling us how to be thinner, firmer, tanner,with whiter teeth and fresher breath, and that we needed to be those things. Contentment was easier and envy was not so much of a temptation then.

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. " (Philippians 4:11

"And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." (1Timothy 6:8 )

"Let your conversation be without covetousness;
and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said,
I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5 )

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