I never know when it will hit me, but it often does when life is busy and I am so focused on myself that I can't see past my own to-do list. December is especially hard that way, with its holidays and events and activities. Today, it happened again.
I was cleaning out the medicine cabinet, organizing the bins that have been mixed together over time so that instead of adult medicine, kids' medicine, first aid, etc., we had a jumbled mess of everything strewn all over. I began the process of checking expiration dates and tossing out expired allergy pills and grumbling over the fact that I somehow have three refills of Drew's asthma inhaler on hand and they just don't fit in the bin right and this is a mess and we have too much stuff.
I tossed out two packages of anti-diarrhea medicines. Add to that more kids' allergy medicines. I notice that the current box of allergy meds will expire in two months, so I make a mental note to buy another when I see a good sale. You know we always have to have that stuff on hand, just in case we need it, even though it rarely gets used.
I glanced at the growing pile in the garbage can, and suddenly faces started to fill my mind. Faces of sweet babies in Kenya, children whose parents can't afford life-saving medicines like I have the ability to just throw away. Faces of children who live in a place where the common cold can kill and asthma goes untreated.
And I started to cry.
I strongly believe that an abundance of wealth like we have here in the United States is not, in fact, the definition of a blessing. Yes, we are very blessed in that we have access to these drugs that can save our children's lives, but I think that we have so much that it becomes really easy to forget where it all comes from. It's not from my husband's paycheck, although he works very hard to support our family. It's not from the store, although we are blessed that we can just run to town and stock up on stuff just in case of a bee sting. But truly, it all comes from God. All of it. Every day. The fact that it is so easy for us to acquire makes us forget that all of our success is from God, not man.
Not a single one of my children would be alive today without our access to modern medicine. I don't take that blessing lightly, but I don't want to rely on modern medicine so much that I forget that it truly is a blessing from God.
And here I am, in my small-ish house that I complain about its size because it's filled with our possessions so tightly that we don't have places to put it all, and I whine and I grumble and I complain about this or that and I forget that all that I have is from God. I get so focused on my to-do list that mostly involves dealing with our over-abundance of stuff. Laundry, dishes, bathrooms, picking up papers and schoolwork and kids toys and dog hair and cat hair because we can afford to feed animals just to keep them around for fun and darn it, another lego on the floor!
I grumble and I grumble and I grumble and I forget to have joy and I forget to be thankful. I forget that I don't need all this stuff. I forget that most of the world doesn't have what we have. And suddenly, as I throw out another bottle of children's fever reducer, I cry on the floor and ask God to forgive me for being so selfish and materialistic and self-centered. I truly am thankful that I have the ability to have a fully stocked medicine cabinet on hand. I just wish I could remember to be thankful constantly.