The Adventures of Stinky Sweet:

Sometimes stinky. Sometimes sweet. But it's our life - and it is always good.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The worlds.

This is probably one of the more controversial blog posts that I've written or that I will write. I don't meant controversial in the way that I am discussing a topic that is taboo or that might be questionable. I just mean that I don't want anyone to misinterpret my words. I tend to avoid touchy topics for a long list of reasons: people won't read my heart and will assume something about my words, people will think it is directed at them (when more than likely, it is not), people will be offended (and while offense is never my intent - conversation is). But, I've been mulling this one over for some time now and I think I am ready to put it in writing. Either way, it is a long doozy of a post so if you are easily offended or easily bored, you might should just skip this one.

Being willing to write about this stemmed from a simple experience yesterday when I feel like I have a decent example. I slept in a little because I had to work late last night and about the time I got up and dressed, I heard the city workers drilling on the road in front of our house. They had been coming by and measuring things and writing nonsense (to the layman) in a beautiful variety of spray paint colors so I knew work of some kind was going to be done. I left for work and didn't think twice about it until I got home around 4:30, in time to run in a grab some things I forgot for the event I was headed to. I turned on the kitchen faucet and this is what came out:
This is after it having run for a while...air in the line first causing me to take a giant step back, then milky looking water, then VERY brown water (confession: I smelled it thinking it might be sewage in the line!), and then this just dirty looking water. Long story to explain: I took a picture and "tweeted" it to the city and to my city council man (who - hello - follows me on Twitter. I'm hot stuff....not.). And then I thought - wow. Why did you do that? Can they fix it? Are they going to call the workers back out and make them figure out why my water is brown? No. And bottom line: I'm telling myself Paula, be thankful. You have clean water. Dirty water one night (that eventually cleared itself up with a long run of the faucet) is so exponentially better than a majority of the world - even places you have visited and lived! - that you have no right to complain."
Here's where it gets tricky. Here is where I want you to hear my heart and not my faulty words and how this story applies. My next thought after complaining about my water quality was to think about posting it on Instagram with the friendly "#firstworldproblems" hashtag. I have seen many people post pictures of broken smart phones, lost keys, names misspelled on coffee cups, or temper tantrums and give it the "#firstworldproblems" tag and I've affirmed it with a with a smile and a nod.  Yes. Yes!
Oh friends, I feel so convicted about this. If these are our problems, let's change our world. Let's go somewhere where clean water is not a guarantee. Let's meet someone who would do anything to have a child, much less one with temper tantrums. Let's go a day (an hour!!) without our smart phones and truly connect with the people you see face-to-face. Let's take that $5 we would have spent on a name-misspelled, wrong ingredient deluxe coffee and give it to our local church, shelter, food bank, or favorite non-profit. And when we find our lost keys, let's open the door to our homes - rented or owned - and invite someone else in...because its our home and we can.
What are "first world problems" really? The things we complain about are, in reality, small miracles of eye opening greatness.
Please hear me: you have every right to feel the way you feel. I am probably butchering my bff's mom's saying but she used to say something like "Feelings are real though they may not be accurate". You are allowed to be frustrated when things don't go how you planned. You are allowed to be annoyed when your cell phone breaks or your car won't start or the barista makes your coffee wrong or that kid you birthed and love is screaming in the backseat while you are just trying to get to home. We are emotional human beings with a lot to process every day.  I just want to encourage you to consider how your respond when life's frustrations enter your day. I am the worst example of how to respond with love, patience, and positivity. I am NOT saying to be like me because I've got it right. I AM saying that we can consider the lives of others - those we know personally and those we wish we knew before judging our "problems" against theirs.
I told you. It was a doozy. Again, this is NOT directed at anyone. If it was, it would be all 10 fingers pointing back at me. This conviction, rooted partially in a "their perfect lives on Instagram are so much better than mine" and pushing against the "you are so blessed. you love your life exactly how it is." is something I have been struggling with for a while. So, friends, go out and love someone today. Remember that your first world is a blessing.

Feel free to comment. I think this could be a good conversation.