Vacation was spent in a very nice beach house that my siblings and I rented with our families as we’ve done now for over 30 years. Different houses. Same relaxation except now it’s even easier because the kids are grown. There were years when we had at least five in diapers.
Let’s just start by acknowleding that I am extremely privileged to get this:
- Paid Vacation.
- A Job I Won’t Lose If I Take Vacation.
- The Ability to Afford to Rent This House.
- Extended Family Who Wants to Spend Vacation Together.
- More Than Enough Food.
- A Pool (and An Ocean.)
- Good Health.
Even with distancing and masks, we could still contract COVID-10, but there’s another virus that threatens us and it comes from the privilege of having things.
It’s easy to become accustomed to luxury and privilege. And the weird thing is that the more luxury we have, the more luxury we desire. (That’s the virus.)
Our very, very nice beach “cottage” had a covered bar overlooking the pool (see photos above) and as I sat there mesmerized by the beauty around me, I started to think, “This bar really needs a little refrigerator. Why don’t we have a little fridge down here? And an electric ice-maker (like the one in the living room of this house) would be handy.”
And so it goes.
What I’m not saying: That it’s not okay to enjoy a slice of luxury.
What I am saying: That being content and grateful keeps us grounded.
Wanting more and more and more is the virus that results when we are not content with and grateful for what we already have. I can see the utter selfishness of desiring more cookies when our neighbors have no cookies at all.
There is nothing holy about poverty. It’s also true that being poor is not a sin. We often attack the poor rather than poverty and we blame the poor for making bad choices. (Note: If you believe this, please make friends with someone who lives on the streets or in public housing and hear their story.)
Enjoying some of life’s sweet luxuries can be rejuvenating, and yet, we are also called to consider what we could live without for the sake of our neighbors.
If I owned that beach house, would I do without a poolside fridge and a poolside icemaker so that some other person’s life might be improved? Would I consider matching what I paid for this vacation to share with an unemployed neighbor? Would I relinquish something I really really want so that another person could get an air conditioned hotel room with a shower?
These are all personal choices and it’s easy to be judgey or hold ourselves up as paragons of mission service. But this is what I thought about at the beach last week. It was a wonderful time of restoration and resurrection. And also the world is a hot mess and it’s time to get back to figuring out how to bring some equity to those who don’t have this.
Image of our vacation pool and the view from the pool bar. It was lovely.