Monday, December 5, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It’s a curious life we live here.

We’re in the house, the church, or going back and forth to our jobs. We’re separated from the world to a great extent. A few of the leaders have cell phones, but that’s it. We live without texting, without email, without television (except for movies on the weekend), without even so much as a newspaper. I have no idea what the stock market is doing, how things are turning out in the riots in Greece, which Republican candidate is pulling ahead, or what’s going on in Spain. Our life feels secluded, surreal, disconnected from reality.

But sometimes I catch myself thinking this way, and I wonder—Is this really the “real world,” “real life,” and the other, busy, complicated world the illusion?

Isn’t it supposed to be like this? Children of God meeting together to worship, study, and work, with everything focused around Christ and His kingdom?

It has been so relaxing to cut out the whole busy world and simplify things down to consist of worship, edification, and our jobs and household chores.

I feel like I am being far more productive and accomplishing far more than before, while at the same time experiencing the rest and freedom from stress that I never enjoyed while I was at home, sittng around on my computer, passing through whole days that I would come to the end of and not be able to point to any real accomplishment. I am doing work and working hard. My hands are all dried out from bleach and other cleaning products, and I usually do enough physical activity and movement to get quite warmed up during the day. Nevertheless, every day after lunch we have the siesta, when everyone simply stops working and takes a nap until 4:00. The lunch dishes remain undone, the chores cease, all the jobs that everyone was doing just get put on hold until the nap is over.

When I first got here, I was a little taken aback by this. “Shouldn’t we hurry and do the lunch dishes first? I thought. But no—the dishes will be followed by another job (mopping the kitchen floor),  which will be followed by something else. If you start the dishes, you start the whole string of jobs that will inevitably come along with it, and your nap will have evaporated. So we just put everything on hold, whatever it may be, and enjoy our scheduled period of rest. There’s time for rest. There’s also time for the chores. Except for cleaning the school and the hotel, all the jobs I have done here have been very relaxed, with plenty of time to do it in a laid back way.

Abundance of time. That’s what I have here. Abundance of what has hitherto been so elusive. Abundance of time—but yet not at the expense of getting things done.

What a curious paradox. Before, I never had any time, and I tried to gain more by sacrificing productivity, eschewing responsibility, and grasping at time, all to no avail.

I looked at Betel from outside, saw the schedule, and said to myself, “Wow, I’m going to have even less time there.”

But now, although we have a full schedule, lots of work, and excellent productivity, we have time. How does that work? Without even trying, we have time.

Thank you, Lord!

• • •

Speaking of abundance, we also have an abundance of food. And it is good food, in great variety, in such great quantities that we are constantly throwing it away.

There is a whole refrigerator shelf full of expired yogurts from October, for instance, that we are going to have to throw away. But no one is eating them because we have two more shelves full of November yogurts, and another shelf of December yogurts, which is getting fuller all the time as we do recuperación. As long as I have been here, anyone who wants can have as many yogurts as she wants every day, and most of us have been eating 2 or 3 a day without putting a dent in the supply. And these are things that are special, yummy treats that I wouldn’t be able to buy all the time. But God is treating us very generously. You should see the freezer full of meat—a variety of wonderful different types. You should see the expensive fresh fish we get. You should see the boxes and boxes of fresh fruit we have. Apples, pears, grapes, clementines, caquis, chidimoyas, pomegranates. You should see our loaded pantry shelves. Cereals, muffins, and galletas for breakfast. Beans, rice, lentils, flour, and other basic ingredients for cooking. Salt, sugar, coffee, chocolate, and other luxuries. And much more.

All this comes in free to our house and many other Betel houses through recuperación, where supermarkets give us slightly damaged or expired goods. (Whenever I hear the word recuperación, I can’t help thinking of a sick person betting better. It took me forever to remember this word.) 

Next Post: Spanish Food
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  1. Hugs sent you, today! Oh for a restful life....glad you are blessed with days as you have described above. Enjoy every minute!!

  2. "But sometimes I catch myself thinking this way, and I wonder—Is this really the “real world,” “real life,” and the other, busy, complicated world the illusion?"
    This made me think of Mr. Kelly hahaha :-)
    I love reading your blog!!


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