I opened the front door and welcomed them into my home again. I watched their eyes widen at our Christmas tree heavy with ornaments, the holiday pillows on my sofa and personalized stockings hanging on the mantle,.
My home is hardly a page out of a magazine. While they looked around in wonder, I saw the floor that needed to be swept, the sink full of dishes from a hurried dinner as we rushed to the airport, the air mattress my son would call his bed for the next two weeks because it’s our guest room, the overladen laundry baskets I’d hidden in my bedroom…I saw what I needed to do, what I didn’t have, what I thought was missing. I saw my life.
But as I welcomed my friends from Kenya into our home this week, I was reminded of this quote I’d written across my notepad a few days earlier, “Be thankful for what you have. Your life, no matter how bad you think it is, is someone else’s fairy tale,” Wale Ayeni.
I saw my life through their eyes and immediately saw all I have instead of what I don’t.
From the spray nozzle at the sink, to the Instant Pot on my counter to every convenience and comfort I take for granted on a daily basis, I instantly saw my life in a new light.
It’s our annual perspective check when we have the honor of welcoming the third world into our first and it is exactly what I needed in the middle of this holiday season.
Isn’t this the eye adjustment we need most during this time of the year—just a tweak to the way we see and it all becomes so clear: we have so much to be grateful for–no matter what. So many of our challenges and our problems in this first world are luxuries in the next. It doesn’t mean that we don’t struggle, it just means we need to remember that we get to choose how we go about it. We get to choose gratitude instead of grumbling, calm instead of complaining, praise instead of pouting.
As we carried their bags upstairs, I couldn’t help but think about what my friends witness– and have lived—on a daily basis: unimaginable choices young mothers have made for survival as they lead the Kenyan side of Mercy House, oppressive and hopeless poverty, and suffering. So much suffering.
Because our life, no matter how bad we think it is, is someone else’s fairy tale.
Be grateful for what you have. It’s more than you think.