For many of us who live and work in a culture not our own, there comes a moment when we realize just how bizarre we have become and how little we have in common with other members of society.
For me, the moment came, like so many of life’s little epiphanies, in the bathroom. My husband and I were going to some event and I was taking extra time in getting ready. I felt unusually cared-for and pampered. As I took my shower, I imagined recommending my beauty tip to others, so that they could share my sense of well-being. My hint for feeling great? Well, for a special occasion, when you are preparing your bucket bath, boil a little extra water so that you can use two buckets instead of one!
Strangeness loves company, so it’s a good thing there are others who share my altered perceptions. Some friends and I were once talking about the romantic things our husbands do for us. There was no mention of roses or chocolate or even love letters. One woman confessed, starry-eyed, that when the electricity came on in the middle of the night, her husband would get up and do the laundry. Someone else said that, when necessary, her husband removed tarantulas from her presence. And me? Well, my husband, when he was feeling especially loving, would boil the water for my bucket bath.
Now we live in a house with a hot water heater, but I still find myself viewing things differently from the average American woman, just because of my different experiences. And I’m glad. Because often, my life overseas has given me an attitude of thankfulness. When you don’t have everything that you’re used to readily available, or when those around you don’t have much, you appreciate what you get more, whether it’s a letter from a friend when mail only comes once a week, your favorite candy bar when the grocery store doesn’t always stock them, or yes, a nice warm shower. Sometimes I find myself singing in the shower just because I’m so thankful that we have water – we don’t always!
Of course, I don’t always think that way. Many times I complain and grouch about what is missing from my life. But, ah, the well-being I feel when I appreciate the good and perfect gifts God sends.