As many of you know, I got back this week from a whirlwind trip to Brazil for the wedding of my beloved nephew and his wonderful wife. I was only there for a short time but it was life-changing. So I decided to start a short blog series called "Lessons from Brazil" to share about this trip, to help me to process it, and to inspire you.
We are so incredibly spoiled as Americans. We are comfortable almost all the time. From the heating and air conditioning systems we have everywhere we go, to the paper products and sanitizers and showers and bath products we have, to the large and roomy and clean living spaces we inhabit, to our great big cars with their air conditioned spaces--we are comfortable! Everything is clean. We don't stink. The air is pleasant--we expect it to be! We rarely smell bad smells or bodily odors or raw sewage, and if we do, we complain. Wherever we sit, we're comfortable--places here are designed that way. When we lie down, well we're comfortable then too, with fine bedding, soft beds sometimes with pillow top mattresses, and (mostly) no bedbugs. In fact, we expect there to be no bugs of any type wherever we are.
If we ever become uncomfortable, we act right away. We turn the air handling system up from 67 degrees to 70 degrees (or whatever temperature we prefer) or adjust the temperature on our car console. Roughing it is taking the bus because we can't control the temperature there or who comes on or where the bus stops; we'll take the bus if we have to, but we feel deprived and feel bad because we don't have a car like most people. It's so uncomfortable and inconvenient and takes so long and we feel very sorry for ourselves.
We turn the faucet on and out comes potable water, like magic. When we go to the bathroom we use as much toilet paper as we need to handle the job and then flush it all right down the toilet. Because we want to be clean and comfortable and everything is available for us to feel that way.
Most of the world does not live this way. They are not comfortable, nor do they expect to be. If they happen to be, it's a wonderful moment that they treasure. Everything is not clean. There are strong smells everywhere. When they are uncomfortable, they cannot immediately move to adjust the environment to their preferences.
I continue to marvel at the abundance around me. Today I am grateful for comfort. Instead of expecting it, I know it for the great blessing and gift that it is.