Thursday, May 12, 2011

No...We are In a Smaller House


A few days ago I had the chance to catch up with a woman I knew about 8 years ago. We were in a church membership class for 8 weeks, so over that time, we shared some laughs, some tears and a lot of scripture. The final "step" in the class is for everyone to share their testimony. Joe and I decided to host this event and asked everyone over to our house for dessert and sharing.

We lived in an urban area - old 1920s bungalows with hard wood floors, leaded glass windows and small rooms. We loved it, although we know it is not everyone's "cup of tea". We had 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths, and a finished basement on top of a living room, dining room and kitchen. It was really good for our family of 5.....or so I thought....

This woman was amazed at how much our family had changed over the past 8 years. Lincoln was born and we adopted not one..but two...African orphans.

That's when she blurted out, "You're not still living in the tiny house, are you?"

I wasn't sure how to answer that because I was stunned that she called our house in the city "tiny".

"Um...actually we moved out to the country."

"Oh good! I just can't imagine raising that many children in that small place."

"Well...to tell you the truth...our house in the country is smaller."

"What?" She gasped.

"Yes. Our rooms are smaller, we don't have a finished basement and we added a 100 pound dog to the mix. We have three kids sharing a room, two in another and our son is in a tiny (and it is TINY) room."

She walked away flabbergasted. I can't blame her. She comes from the "other side of the tracks". She lives in a area where 3000 sq. feet homes are considered average. She lives in an area where 2 kids is average and if someone dares to have 3 you better have a maid. She's nice...don't get me wrong...she is just out of touch with my reality.

Here is my reality. This life is NOT supposed to be about comfort - comfort tells you that you're doing enough and you don't need to sacrifice more. Once you are out of your comfort zone, you realize all that you can sacrifice. My reality is that I have seen orphans living in Ethiopia...hungry, sparse clothing, sick. Once you see that...live that...a big house and a new car just don't compare. I am NOT judging YOU - or anyone - I am just saying that my reality is different now.

Here is more reality.
How many minutes did it take you to read this post? One minute? 18 children just died.

My house was big enough to adopt again. So what that my kids share bedrooms? They are learning to be good sharers, to be patient with others, to work out differences. They are learning about loving the unlovable. They have learned that their siblings really were "starving to death." They are learning that love is colorblind.

No...we are actually living in a smaller house...and we are loving every minute of it.

3 comments:

ESolgos said...

I love this, Traci and couldn't agree more! We also have a 1920's, 1200 square feet home. It's all about priorities. Besides, we'll have plenty of room in heaven!

FullPlateMom said...

Tracy,
I'm following your story because I have three Ghanaian children and I'm on the Ethiopian Web Board (I'm Becky). I just HAD to comment on this thread. We have seven kids, 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Our house has a nice layout, but it's not large and it's certainly not something you would drive up to and think "oh my gosh, I can tell that couple has seven children". It just doesn't look big.

I've told people, time and time again, that my Ghanaian kids were awed by our house when they got here. Our American kids have never known any different. I have never in my life, not shared a bedroom (my sister, a college roommate and then my husband). I survived. The idea that kids HAVE to have, or somehow have a right to, their own room is ridiculous. Look at the way the majority of children in the world live. I think our kids will be fine.

Our prayers are with your family and Anna! We're excited to see her blossom in her new home.

--FullPlateMom

Bear Creek Mama said...

Amen!