Shabbat Shalom! It is a PERFECT day here in Central America – I would guess it is around 75º. The sun is shining between the wispy white clouds and there is a very slight breeze. Simply. Lovely.
As I type, I am sitting on the bench on our small front porch with the hammock opposite of me, and I have been browsing my blog. Sometimes I do that to update old posts. This morning I was particularly drawn to a post I made about a year ago in regards to what we really need.
Five members of our family have been living in a tiny house for the past 2 months. It has one small bedroom with a closet; A loft with 4 twin beds and a tiny dresser; A small bathroom with a shower; And the rest of the house is one room divided into kitchen/dining/living area – all of which are quite small. My guess is that the square footage is just over 500sf including the low sides of the loft where you can’t stand. The furniture consists of the four twin beds and small dresser, another queen bed, a night table, a very small couch and two living room chairs with a corner table, a table for four, two bar stools and a kitchen storage shelf with 4 shelves. Are we suffering? Absolutely not. We have plenty of clothing, food, water and it never gets below 65º here, so no need for a heat source. In fact, I would venture to say that there are many locals who do not have as much as we have and THEY are content!
There is such shalom and joy in living simply. I have to admit, I do miss some of my kitchen servants, such as the vitamix, the crock pot and the ice cream maker. I also miss our chickens and goats, dogs and cats. (However, there is a freedom that comes from not having animals, so that one is a “catch 22” ~ hmmm? I wonder where that phrase came from? Will have to look that up) But I have found that I can be content without them!
As a group, we have learned, in this short space of time, just how amazing it is to relax in a hammock. Also that we can still invite people over to our tiny house and share a cup of coffee and some cinnamon rolls from the local bakery (only $1 for 12!). Hospitality doesn’t need a big house or a lot of furniture! We are learning that we don’t have to be limited to the walls of our home, we can enjoy sitting on the porch or throwing a frisbee in the front or taking a walk down the street. We are learning that sharing the laundry with the other cabañas on the property is an excellent idea. In fact, we have even been known to wash our clothes while we shower and then hang them on the line, saving $1.50 for the washer. We are learning to barter and borrow instead of buying and selling everything. We are definitely learning to do without. We are learning to be extra thankful when the internet is working properly and to read, play games, or simply have conversations more often. We are still learning about not having our own personal space. As americans, we are very spoiled in that way. Our house does not give any privacy as far as sounds… even in the bedroom with the door shut I can hear someone rolling over in the bed upstairs or playing songs on their headphones. If we need some alone time, it isn’t as simple as going in your room and shutting the door… but that is the norm for much of the world. Why do we think it is a “right” that we must have?
I know there is a fairly new growing interest in tiny houses and living more simply and I am all for it! I also know that YHWH gives more to some folks and expects them to use it for HIM. That is another topic for another day. =) I’m just here to share that living simply is everything it is said to be and more. Though we have eliminated a LOT of possessions in our home in the north, I still think we have WAY too much! It’s so easy to do. Even here, I have noticed that if I enter certain stores I am tempted to purchase things that I do NOT need. Hello? That is the advertisers job to create wants for things we don’t need! So, I will purpose to stay away from those stores unless there is something I need that I can’t get somewhere else. And/or to go in with no way of buying anything.
There are still a couple of areas that I believe we still need to work on, and those are food and entertainment. We are definitely eating much more simply here, but I know we can do better. There is no need to have so many sweets, even if they are amazingly inexpensive. Entertainment – meaning internet, non-competitive sports and games (both on devices and at the table) … we need to seek the Father on that. I don’t know how much we should be doing. Hebrew thinking is so different that the Greek thinking we grew up with. For the Hebrew, ALL OF LIFE is spiritual ~ there is no dividing of secular and spiritual. So how do we live? Ah, that is the question. The five of us definitely do much less than *most* people, but we should never compare to *most* people. Our standard should be what HE wants! Please share your thoughts on this subject!