Sunday, March 30, 2008

Familarity with "Luxuries"

Jobina's parents drove out for a visit and we spent a nice evening with them catching up on life stuff. They do a lot of traveling and since we are going to Belize we were discussing accommodations. They mentioned something that I found quite interesting. Recently they did extensive renovations on most of their house. It was already a very nice home, but now it looks amazing. Granite in the kitchen bathroom, new hardwood floors, new paint, etc. It's quite beautiful; a pleasure to be in and rejuvenating for the mind, body, and soul.

The thing that's interesting is that they love their newly updated house so much that they find it difficult to adjust to staying in a hotel which is invariably not as nice. It's tough to spend money on a room that's actually a step down from what you already own and can stay in for free! At first I had trouble following them. I can see what they're saying, but is it really that difficult to take a step down? After all, hotel rooms (at least in the mid-high range) are usually pretty nice.

As we talked though I rolled this around in my mind and then finally I got it. I thought about how although our house is "super lived in" and "in need of repair," we have a king size bed. Had it since the first day we were married (a mentor of mine gave me the following advice when I got married "Buy a good bed!"). So every time (which is not often) we stay in a hotel and we "have" to stay on a mere queen size we feel slightly disappointed. Why? Because for us it's a step down. We have to get into a "small" queen size. Even though a queen size is certainly adequate for sleeping in, we wrinkle our noses at it. We may even not sleep as well in it.

This is the peril of familiarity with luxuries. Luxury is not easily defined, after all it's in the eye of the beholder. For the poorest or the richest man, there is always something they would look on as being luxurious - beyond their usual standard. It's easy to take a step up, terribly hard to take a step down. I'm not sure if one can protect oneself from this fact of human nature. Paul learned to be content with whether he was in want or had plenty, but how did he achieve this? Thankfulness? Practicing his faith? I suppose that when we get a luxury of any kind we must honestly remember that it can be both a blessing and a curse. How we handle it determines the outcome. I'm just not sure how to make sure it's always a blessing! And if I lose it I can still be content? Maybe others have some ideas about this.

May Light increase!


Keith said...

Good post Mark,
I hope Lee sees this, because that is the reason why we only have a King size bed, I don't want her to feel bad when we have to stay at a hotel ;)

I sometimes take it one step further and envy what I don't have, so I imagine how it would be on that one step up and not realizing the step that I'm on ;)

Mark said...

Hey Keith, nice to hear from you! I hear you about the envy stuff - focusing on luxuries that I would like to have (or worse convince myself I need to have) is bad news. It blinds you to all the good things you have already. In this case maybe it's better to take a significant "step down" just to remind ourselves how good we really have it?

Keith said...

Yes.. a step down, or maybe distancing my self from that said step.. or even taking a step back and seeing where I am and where I came from...

Ok, that's enough posts for one day ;)

Jobina said...

Just another reason to stick with the, what did you call it? Oh yes, the "super lived in" look. As long as we're together Sweetie! Hey, maybe next time we need to buy a bed we should get a queen. Then we could be even more thankful when we stay at hotels!

Lee said...

Ha - I think Keith meant that we have a queen size. So when we get a chance at a King size it is AWESOME. Especially since half the time there is a third person in the bed with us. No chance of us taking that step up to a King anytime soon - we had trouble getting the queen up the stairwell - had to take apart the box spring and still gouged the top of the plaster.
Which, makes me realize that probably before us, the owners probably only shared a DOUBLE Bed. Which means we are blessed indeed with our Queen. :)
I dislike hotels for another reason. The germ factor squicks me out and I seldom sleep well. I also bring along my own bedding and don't walk barefoot on the carpet. Perhaps I need