Thursday, December 22, 2011

. . . and back

So, my husband and I spent 4 days away from home, visiting Haiti, and now we're back.

And really, we're back.  In the same way that a stone dropped in a lake makes a big splash at first but leaves no real trace on the surface of the water, it'd be hard to tell that we were away.  We're back to doing dishes with a real dishwasher, turning on christmas lights, going to the office, driving errands.  What a weird world this is.

I'm wearing pants, brown socks,  and torn blue crocs;
my new friend is wearing the brown shoes.

Okay, so here's one more Haiti story before I go back to being American again.  I've written a couple of blog posts about buying used shoes:  a long-winded explanation, followed up by another long-winded explanation, both saying that wearing used shoes is unlikely to be the danger to your health that, say, processed food is.

The picture above shows two pairs of used shoes.  Crocs are everywhere in Haiti; the blue pair in the photo above belonged to one of my young "hair dressers" (see yesterday's post).  But I could see that the crocs were torn and wearing down, so I playfully exchanged her shoes for my new(er) shoes.  (I bought those brown shoes last summer for 85¢ at a yard sale).  She loved the new shoes, but wanted the blue shoes back again, too.  She got both sets of shoes -- I had a pair in reserve for myself.  I don't think that used shoes top the list of her health concerns, either.  You should have seen her strut her stuff!

And for me, this was golden.  This moment was the payoff for all the stuff I haven't bought, the clothes I've mended, the leftovers I've converted into new foods.  A big part of the reason that I love to live the miserly life style, as I wrote in my first post, is right there in that picture.
We live in a world that thinks the proper thing to do is spend money on ourselves -- as that advertisement goes, "Sure it costs more, but I'm worth it."   Intentionally scrimping on ourselves is counter-cultural.  But I believe that we're happier if we spend our money on things that are bigger than us, things that are outside of us. . . . 
I know it's not easy at first to live a life of thrift and discipline, but . . . it's a joy to be able to deny ourselves well, and this blog is about that joy.

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