I am a sucker for reality TV. Seriously, if someone is weighing himself or trying to win a quick-fire cooking challenge or ripping down a house on TV, I’m there.
But I’ve got to tell you, working at Compassion spoils you for pop culture. Suddenly everything is in perspective.
Before starting my job here, I used to love Extreme Home Makeover. I loved seeing the crazy kitchens, the creative design and the happy people. I would cry with them when they yelled with Ty, “Bus driver, move that bus!” And I still do love the heart of helping and generosity it is spreading.
But since being daily faced with the realities of the majority world, I can’t help but be distressed by our sometimes-trend toward bigger is better and more is more attitude. We seem to be in a never-ending game of one-upmanship.
I don’t personally think there’s anything inherently wrong or sinful about a big house. What is dangerous is the subtle message we are ingesting that if our homes aren’t big, if they aren’t new, if they aren’t decked with the trendiest design, it’s a reason to shake our heads shamefully. We can begin to look around at what we have and think, “This isn’t that great” when we compare it to the over-the-top luxury we see.
It’s sad. We have so much! Think of Joshua’s home in Indonesia.
Home security in Indonesia.
He and his family all sleep together in one big room, his father with the two older brothers on a mattress by the door, and the mother with the younger siblings on a bed.
His favorite part of his home is the mattress. It gets lots of light from the front door. But he wishes the roof was a bit better so he wouldn’t get rained on at night.
His mom wishes the electricity worked more often — they share it between eight families.
When asked what he thinks about living here, Joshua said, “I like it here because I have so many friends.”
The sweet heart of a child.
I don’t propose we all move to open-air shacks and share one bedroom between six people. But I do propose looking around at what we have! Appreciate it. See it for what it really is.
How sad it is when we “tsk” at the great blessings we have as not enough. When we complain about this or that little detail of it. (I’m speaking from personal experience. I HATE my ugly old kelly green bathroom and can look beyond the beauty of my home to that one seeming blight.)
What may really need an extreme makeover is not necessarily our homes, but our hearts.
Photos by Ben Adams