As we made the hour trip to visit family my Plum had questions about houses. He wanted to know what was the very first house ever made. I described the abode Adam and Eve must have created as they left the ultimate shelter. He wanted to see it, wondered why it wouldn’t still be around. As we passed houses we considered how many people lived in each, how many and what kind of pets they might have. Room for beasts like us, cats or maybe a bowl of goldfish? He asked about the smallest house ever and then of course the largest. He was into extremes, sometimes that is how we start, working our way from outer edges back to us. We talked about his old apartment, perfect for just him and Mama but as his family grew they needed more. This apartment has enough space for a stepdad and a new baby sister. We showed him images of the Biltmore Mansion in North Carolina, a reminder of a trip Chef and I took many years ago. Shocked at learning such places existed, imagining getting lost inside, he asked if we would ever have a mansion. I told him we did. We described out home, too much space now for just us but perfect many times throughout the years for all who have needed a dwelling place. We talked about having too much, losing each other in all that house, and about those who have so little that our home is a mansion to them.
We focus often on what we don’t have, the missing pieces, the broken parts or compare to others who have newer bigger shinier versions. With one conversation with my Plum, I gained perspective again, remembering that first home that was filled with everything, all needs met. Still wasn’t enough, temptation to have more, the extra that was out of the budget, the lure of that comes with taking our eyes off of the beauty surrounding us. That is when we lose it all. Lose all perspective and are cast out of goodness and understanding that God is providing. What we have is our enough. Regardless of the beauty of someone else’s enough, regardless of the size of their garden, our enough is from God. We are not called to seek more, we are called to SHARE more. What if Eve had invited that serpent in to share in her garden, to find peace and sanctuary in there? Maybe she had many times, maybe she was broken down by the temptation. Imagining what could possibly have not been enough for her, that she wanted more, with no job loss, with no aging parents, without addiction, with estrangement, without any other worries, what in God’s name could have been so bad that she just had to want more? But that is just it, my list is no one else’s, the things that tempt my sinful nature. Hers were different and show that regardless of how easy life is, still we are broken, we are human. So we compare what we have with others and think we should have bigger, better, newer.
When I traveled to South East Asia, my heart was changed forever. I cannot look at our home with all of its needs and not see how rich we are. I cannot un-know the poverty I witnessed. I am not a saint, I still want to buy way too many Lego sets, especially the new Batman mini figs coming out. It may kill me not to be able to collect those with my Plum. We have reached the place in our financial state where I dare not buy even one packet, I must resist the temptation. Yet every trip down the hallway I pass a toy room filled with Lego, I know he has enough. I find pieces in my purse, on my desk, on the dining room table. Scattered bits of toys that would be precious to those who have not even one. We have enough, our enough is plenty.
The new year brings many ads to organize all the stuff that came in for Christmas, ways to stow away and sort all the things we accumulate. Buying more to clean up what we just bought. The temptations are endless, the lure to forget that what we have is enough beyond the belief to so many. Considering that Jesus carried nothing with him, amassed no wealth, built no homes with attached garages and extra sheds to store his extra robes, how can I as a follower think I need more? If I truly believe that every single thing in my home is gifted from God, how can I question if it is enough, can I really go to Him and say I need more?
Houses are structures. Temporary dwellings that can be filled with people, creatures, love, turned into gardens of Eden. Used to satisfy the needs of all who wander, all who need shelter, places for us to rest as we do the work of God. Conversely they can be the casting out places without us even realizing it, brimming with evidence of temptation engaged, apples bitten. May your home reflect your love of God, may it feel like enough. May your home be a refuge for the lost, may you find peace in your dwelling place. I live in a mansion built by God. May I look around and see not all that is broken, not what is missing, but see just how very blessed I am. And then share it. This mansion has plenty of room for those in need.