Thursday, February 21, 2008

luxury and silence

I hate laundry, and I am kind of a brat about it. My friend Cody reminds me that his mother grew up in Chile. She had to scrub all her clothes by hand. Still, even with the availability of washing machines and driers, I hate the task. 

Today I broke down and washed some clothes. It was an ordeal. There were no washers available at the laundry mat. I took my stuff to a friends house. They only solar dry (it is better for the environment). It is raining. So my clothes are scattered throughout my apartment.

The point of this is about how disconnected I am from the work required to live. I regularly abuse the luxuries I have as an US citizen. I live in a country that uses a majority of the worlds resources. I get to wash my clothes in a machine and they are dry in no time. I forget that this simple task uses electricity and water (precious resources). I forget that I am lucky enough to be in able to wash my clothes without rubbing my skin dry. I am often unaware that this lifestyle is a luxury.

Tomorrow at 7 am I am leaving for a silent retreat. 

We are driving for 3 hours to get to a cabin in the mountains to be silent. There are about 15 of us total. I will be cooking. It is mostly soups and stuff with fresh veggies that I bought at a local store today.

I need this. I need to be calm and quiet. I need to chop vegetables and stir food. I need to be connected with what I eat and with the world I live in. I need to be quiet before God and with God. I need to be aware that I am a consumer in this world and I need to be responsible with what I consume. I need to live in a way that reflects the fact that how I live in this world is worship. 

Yet even in this act of simplicity I am in luxury. As I am thinking about my time to spend in stillness I am reminded that some of the most amazing theology of our time is trapped in the developing world because those who write this theology cannot take time to write it. They must live it. Theirs is the theology we hardly studied in class because it is barely written. Instead it exists as these theologians seek to survive. 

With that in mind I am grateful for the luxury of spending time in thoughtful silence. Pray that I use it well. 

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