We attended a friend’s wedding back home about two weekends ago. I planned on making a small vacation out of it and stretched out my time there for five days. I got in Wednesday, and Stan would come in by Friday evening. Right when the plane touched down at Hartsfield-Jackson, a familiar feeling washed over me. A forgotten familiarity becomes funny after not having it, doing without it, or moving on. Faces, places, habits, feelings. You become aware of what you already knew so well.
A good friend, the brother I never had, picked me up and drove me to our family’s restaurant to eat dinner with my mom, dad, grandparents, aunt, and sisters. The restaurant looked bigger than I remembered. The food tasted even more succulent. I talked with my oldest sister until my mom scolded us to stop and engage with the entire family. Haha. I love talking with my sisters. I rode home with my oldest and youngest sister, stopped by the big Barnes and Noble right by our house to pick up The Scarlet Letter for my youngest sister. All familiar spaces. Large spaces. I met up with a girlfriend for brunch and sat leisurely and lazily outside for hours, eating and talking. It was so quiet, so easy, so safe. I slept in the same bed in the same bedroom that I grew up in, by myself, even closing the door and watching an episode of Glee in bed on my laptop before falling asleep. I called Stan and told him I felt like I did pre-engagement years. He told me not to get used to it and hung up. Haha.
I think I just realized how comfortable I was. How comfortable the suburbs are or a certain way of life can be. How self-absorbed and selfish I can become with my time and space. I couldn’t get used to it. I mean, I want to, but I can’t. I want a lot of things. Ben Rector sings in Song for the Suburb:
Pretty cars and pretty houses
Pretty people on parade
If this dream is what you’re after
Then dreaming is where you’ll stay.
There’s so much that I want and envy and covet. And when I say I can’t want it, I don’t mean it to sound like a rule or regulation. I think this is a misconception about believers. And believers have this misconception. I have this misconception that if I am a believer, I should do and say certain things and live a certain way. Like never experience pleasure or never enjoy gifts. Or, like, live in sack cloth and eat locusts. No. I really don’t know what to think about rich Christians, and I frankly don’t think I’d assert my opinion about it at this point. I’ve seen really successful, God-fearing, God-breathed examples of this, and I’ve seen horrendous ones, too. I think if I start wanting this comfortable lifestyle, though, I have to question why I want it. And I think if I question why I want it, I’d find out that I think it’d make me happier than I am now. I’d feel safe and secure and comfortable. This status quo. This American Dream (which, sidenote, is the Asian American Dream any better or any worse?).
I was extremely blessed this week to hear words of Truth spoken about this. I think the realization of how comfortable life can be, and the ways I unwittingly and deliberately strive for the status quo, the ways I seek and desire comfort and security — I have to question if I believe God is more than enough. I have to question if I believe He is my portion in plenty and in want. If I am uncomfortable, broken, shaken, afraid — I have to question if I believe God is still God and He is still good.
So, we flew back to Chicago late Sunday evening and both of us had to be at work really early Monday morning. I trekked through the week feeling sluggish and just thinking about things. All I can think to say now is I’m starting to be thankful for the challenges I’m faced with. Really thankful.