Re-entry is kicking my sass. And by sass I mean: coming home to the United States has been an unexpected culture shock--and it's killing my sense of humor. Our family took a tour of Hearst Castle this past week and in the middle of it I loudly announced: "THIS IS SUCH A DISGUSTING, UNCONSCIONABLE DISPLAY OF WEALTH!" I'm sure the rest of our tour group was super happy that I was in their group, yes?
I should have just shut up and ooooh'd and ahhhhh'd like everyone else, right?
But then the tour guide announced they spent 1/2 million dollars repainting one ceiling. ONE CEILING. I almost blew my lid at that point. I wanted to climb on top of Hearst's ridiculously ornate fireplace mantel and yell: DID YOU KNOW THAT EVERY DAY 45 BOLIVIAN CHILDREN DIE SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO ACCESS TO CLEAN WATER????
But I didn't. Instead, I just cried the whole way home. It's just. I've never been DISGUSTED by opulence. I've never been HORRIFIED by luxury.
And now? I am.
I used to drive a BMW. I won't EVER be able to justify that again.
I used to pride myself on my growing collection of designer handbags. I am disgusted by that now.
I routinely spent hundreds of dollars on clothing and accessories. If only I could sell everything and fund the sponsorships of hungry Bolivian children!
Worst of all, a couple years ago I seriously considered plastic surgery. Here in the OC, it's just sorta expected that women will "fix" themselves after childbirth. I am HORRIFIED by that thought now.
There is an inherent CRUELTY in luxury--and I think especially for a Christian. There is simply no way I can reconcile what I saw in Bolivia with the typical Orange County lifestyle. I can't help but think that Christians living luxurious lives is a scourge in the eyes of God.
If I'm being judgmental, it's only because I'm a Christian who likes luxury. I'm giving my own self a huge kick in the pants.
I mean, how can I justify spending money on designer handbags when the children I embraced don't even have clean water to drink?
My faith means ABSOLUTELY nothing if I am able to hug these impoverished children and then waltz back into my plush, comfortable, full-bellied life and whine about "dilemmas" like: should I wear the platform heels or the designer boots?
My faith means NOTHING if I don't actually DO anything to help.
I turned on the tap in our hotel room and started weeping because it was CLEAN water and I could DRINK it.
I don't know what's happening to me. I can feel myself morphing into one of those bleeding heart, save-the-world people!! OMG! Am I becoming a liberal????????
Maybe I am.
I'll take on any label if it means little kids won't have to sell trinkets from a pushcart just so they can eat that day.
Because more than a label, I'm a mother. And my heart will never be happy again knowing there are little kids starving....especially if I can do something to help.
What do YOU think? In light of global poverty, is it appropriate for a Christian to live a luxurious lifestyle?