I know it’s pretty much cliche at this point, but the question a lot of us have been answering these last few days is, “what are you thankful for?”
It’s actually been an unusual question for me this season. Being back from India now for 3 weeks, I’ve still been processing a lot of what I experienced. A lot of my outward routines have remained the same, but the way I see life has been changed for good. Here’s a few things that I was surprised to feel gratitude for this year.
1. MY MINI-VAN. Yes, my manly dadwagon. I own the road with that thing. Here’s a picture of India’s version of the family minivan (yup, count ‘em – a family of 5) Among other things we saw on their “minivans” – a guy carrying 4 20-foot poles, one woman with 6 huge bags of rice, a guy w/ 8 propane tanks, 2 guys + 6 chickens, a family of 4 (with the 2-month old sleeping on mom’s shoulders).
2. ROAD CONSTRUCTION. Yes, it always starts at just the wrong time, and the “scheduled completion date” is really the 50%-done date. But my goodness, our roads here feel like silk to me compared to the motorcycle-sized potholes and bumpy dirt paths we were on in India. I’d never thought I’d say this, but thank you municipal governments for having maintenance budgets!
3. HAMBURGERS. okay, I admit it – I love my burgers. The last day of the trip, I get to Dehli International Airport and see a sign for McDonalds. YES! I get up there and on the menu is… McChicken, Spicy McChicken, and an Indian-curry McChicken. NO!
4. SHOWERHEADS. Bathing where we were in India essentially consisted of a water faucet (sometimes even hot water), a big bucket, a small bucket, and a bar of soap. When you think about it, it actually makes a lot of functional sense – very little water is wasted that way. And there’s nothing that revives the body and spirit in the morning like dumping a big bucket of cold water on yourself. BAM!
5. INDOOR PLUMBING. If you think about indoor plumbing and all that is involved with getting our yucks out of our house, it is a pretty amazing system. If you ever see us in person, ask us about the time we went to the bathroom in the wrong “room” in the hut. This is just too embarrassing to share on the internet.
6. WATER COOLERS. In the villages we visited, we often saw small women carrying big jugs of water around – on their heads or shoulders. Not only is my water safe to drink, it is so easily accessible. I remember whining to myself when the newly installed water cooler was on the far side of the office. Ha.
7. (since we’re on a roll with this water theme) DISHWASHERS, CLOTHES WASHERS, CLOTHES DRYERS. I’m pretty much spoiled by these amazing machines, and so are my soft, weak, fragile hands. Watching the women wash their clothes on a rock was amazing. Check out the video and think about the prospect of doing this every day of your life.
I’m thankful for the truth that I don’t need any of the above to be a joyful person – in fact, I don’t need much “stuff” at all. I’m thankful for the people in my life – I feel a renewed sense of honor for being a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend to others. I’m thankful for the eye-opening experience I’ve been given in India – more than ever, I’m determined to work as smart and hard as I can to help transform the lives of 1,000,000 people trapped in unfathomable poverty to become self-sustaining.
Related Posts on Our First Trip to India
- We’re Going to India This Week!
- Day 1 | Good Timing
- Day 5 | Sunday Morning Run
- 5 Things Hard to Grasp About India
- Partnering with Mission India
- 7 Weird Things I’m Thankful For