This morning I woke up in a messy room, and just stared at the wall paper on the walls. This wall paper has been on my wall since I was a preteen and my mom decided to do a do-it-yourself wallpapering project in our room. She never asked my sister or I if we wanted wallpaper in our room, she just wanted to do it. Unfortunately, my mom is famous for starting projects and never finishing them. Our front bathroom is half painted with new wainscoting that is only primered. The outside of our house still has the old paint color showing through on the edges that were never finished being painted. The front hall has chipped tile that my mom has talked about retiling for years. And my bedroom is half wallpapered, and is ripped in areas where my sis and I started to tear it, and where my son attempted to finish the job. And while the pattern that she used is probably extinct, and nobody wallpapers their walls anymore anyway, she still won’t let me take it down and redo my bedroom. And all the bitterness I’ve been feeling the last couple of days welled up inside of me as I thought about my job situation and how it isn’t what I imagined it to be, and how it feels like I’ll never be able to afford to pay off all my bills and move out and finally support my kids on my own. And how I’ll forever be stuck in a room that is the largest room in the house and still too small for me and the kids and all our stuff that we’ve downsized to since we just don’t have the room to have everything we want.
And then I thought back to 2 years ago at the old house, before things changed. We were nearing Christmas. Our electricity had already been shut off, but we were greatful to still have gas because that meant we could still have heat from our oven. We were “borrowing” electricity from the apartment garages behind us to feed our extension cord so we could have light and unspoiled food in our fridge. And we could not afford Christmas. But we were blessed by groceries from one of the homegroups at our church, and a Thanksgiving meal from my family. Christmas gifts that year were slim: little trinkets from Chinatown, $20 spent to make sure that the kids at least got to open up something that morning. Plus we were saved when Randy’s family gave us our presents to put under our donated tree. Randy and I skipped giving each other presents, since it was the kids that mattered most. And I nearly cried when my darling daughter exclaimed that she was so surprised to have presents that morning at all, serously not expecting anything because of how poor we were. The house was dark and always in shambles, food was practically conjured up as sometimes I wasn’t sure what I could make out of nothing, I never entertained anymore and lost contact with a lot of friends. And the stress was so deep it was excrutiating. Our marriage was horrible and I was so depressed I wanted to die. NOTHING gave me joy, and it appeared like things could never look up.
When I moved back home, every little thing meant so much. And I took nothing for granted. I used to sit in the living room with all the lights on, seriously overjoyed at the prospect of elecricity. I’d go to bed at night, smiling because my belly was full, I was comfortable and safe, and I was warm. I wasted nothing, because I knew what it was like to HAVE nothing. When I passed homeless on the street, I gave them money I had, even though I had no control over what they spent it on. I knew the blessing 5 extra dollars could bring. I felt so lucky to be given use of the family van, as it carried me and my kids everywhere we needed to be, and made life so much more convenient. And I felt so important to have a job where I was trusted to enter people’s exquisite homes, some of the best in Sonoma County, and to be treated occasionally to lunch by my dad, the bonus being that I got extra time with him. I was truly blessed!
And now, here I am, totally comfortable in this lifestyle just being handed to me, and I am complaining. I complain about my van and its maintenance problems, and how unglamorous it is, even though it’s been a blessing to me. I complain about my lack of privacy, when I am surrounded by love. I complain about not being able to turn the heat up as much as I want to, when I have a heated house to begin with. I complain about living in a crowded room with half wallpapered walls and the mess because of the lack of space, when I have a warm place to lay my head at night. I complain about how lowpaying my job is, when I HAVE a job. I complain about not being able to have a place to call my own, when I HAVE A PLACE.
I am doing exactly what I prayed to God that I would never do. I am taking all my blessings for granted, and forgetting where I came from. At this very moment, someone is living in a worse hell than I ever did. At this moment, someone is dying while they are living on the cold streets. When I go outside at this time of night and shiver from the cold, I get to go back inside and get warm. At this moment, maybe even less than 10 miles away, someone else doesn’t have their PG&E on, have no heat whatsoever, and is unsure how they’re going to conjure up their next meal. And while I am confident that never again will I ever have to face that kind of hell, there are many people who can’t even imagine what it’s like to receive the blessings that I have. I am selfish, I am all talk, I am a fraud.
This Thursday, UGO4God will be at Papago Ct. in Santa Rosa. Rudy and Lori are out of commission for a short time as Lori heals from her surgery tomorrow, but the mission is being taken up by Pastor Russ at Hope West. Please CLICK HERE to get information on how you can help out this Thursday by bringing supplies, or passing out supplies and praying for those who need prayer. Remember your blessings, and those who desperately need what we take for granted. Let God bless you by blessing others. And may I never forget again what has been given to me, and what I’m supposed to do with it.