Contentment and Discontentment

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It is the best and the worst here.  I’ve never been so happy to be somewhere and so challenged at the same time.  I am learning a lot about myself in India!  One thing I have learned is that I have been very spoiled.  I am used to having what I need at my disposal.  I am used to having exactly what I want at my disposal.  I am sad to admit that I get really upset sometimes when I can’t get things I want.  Although I knew that it would be challenging here and I tried to prepare myself, there have been one or two times where I’ve laughed and said, “Are you kidding me?” Is this really how the majority of people live?  Am I really this spoiled?  Yes… and yes I am.

Thankfully, God is teaching me in patience and contentment.  It is a lesson I am eager to learn, although it has been a bit painful! The agents of my lesson in contentment are things like electricity, water supply, internet connectivity and even lunch.  These things are privileges, not rights.  Our electricity shuts off for a bit every Wednesday (it will shut off for longer during summer months), and at random other times along with the water.  When the home internet is working, it is often too slow to use Skype or edit websites for Ben’s business. This week, the office router got hit by lightning and the internet has been out for two days.  (I was so happy I brought a book to the office – I finished A Tale of Two Cities yesterday, my favorite novel!)  We also found out Monday there would be no running water in Nagpur for two days – and we were notified after the water had already been shut off!  Thankfully, the water was actually only out for about 12 hours.  It would have been a very smelly two days.

These things are really small, first world problems.  I had to wait around all day at the office yesterday… but I had a great book and the ability to read it.  I have been hungry, but only because the employee picking up the office lunch was a few hours late with the delivery.  I have been without running water, but only for twelve hours.  Many people face these kinds of problems for real, daily.  Many of our neighbors live in one room huts and never have running water at all, let alone lunch.  In reality, Ben and I are rich here, even though we live simply.  We even have a toaster oven… considered a luxury item even among the business class (oops. I didn’t know.)  Sometimes when I feel like complaining, I look around to my neighbors.  I also think about how hard we worked to get here and how happy I am to be able to live abroad with Ben.  I can have a cheeseburger next year… but not many people ever have the opportunity to live in India.

I woke up today with a vision of who I want to be: a woman who is unwavering, spreading strength and joy to her family and friends.  Not a woman who whines when it takes an hour and a half of work to make lunch (what happened to a good old turkey sandwich?), or when the internet is not fast enough to play TV on Hulu. I can’t say that I’m halfway there yet, and obviously I will never be perfect, but at least I have been inspired to set the goal!

12 thoughts on “Contentment and Discontentment

  1. Jodi

    Friend!!! love this lesson! I am so thankful to be learning along with you!! Believe me, I relate completely and know that in the morning I can read my Bible and be so focused on righteousness- and then something small happens to divert my attention to negativity- and BAM- who am I? Thanks for a reminder to walk daily knowing I am a work in progress and that grace is abundantly wonderful for us!!!

  2. Tina

    What you guys are doing is such a great example of what following Jesus look like. It teaches so much not only to you but to others who are watching you.

    So inspiring!

  3. Karen

    Thanks for sharing and being such an inspiration to us all. James 1:2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Love and prayers, Mom

  4. Sharon

    Thank you for writing honestly to help us all learn with you, Jaimie. Reading ONE THOUSAND GIFTS by Ann Voskamp today and it says:

    “I want to slow down (India is doing this for you), taste life (you are bit by bit), give thanks (you are, we are learning too), and see God (Oh, yes…that’s why you share your blog).”

    I hang on every account you write and pray right on.
    Love you!!

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