the basics

People 1975

What does it take for you to feel at home?

Many of us would make a list of things: temperatures, safety, conveniences, rights…

Now pick a different country, culture, financial stratum, time in history, and ask yourself the question again. What does it take for you to feel comfortable and content?

Did your list change as your circumstances changed?

What I might consider as the basics—a place to live, food, transportation, furnace/air-conditioning, running water, freedom, morning coffee, my laptop—might look like luxuries to someone else. Dana, a friend and fellow blogger recently went on a ten-week sojourn to West Africa and was hit in the face with this question. [See her blog at:]

Can I imagine a situation where I would thank God just to be alive or to have food for merely one meal? Can I imagine being thankful that I didn’t receive a beating today or that I have access to clean well water (even if I have to walk a mile with a jar of water on my head)? Would I feel blessed to have a ten-hour-per-day physically-demanding job in addition to raising my children? What would I do if school for my child cost more money than I am able to earn in a year?

Do these questions inspire guilt for my blessings or grow an awareness of the wealth that I possess? In every country, every culture, and every time in history there are “haves” and “have-nots.” My friend Dana is getting a face-to-face look at the wide divide between women’s “at-homeness” in the world today. My own recent experience in this area came through researching the lives and times of Ruth, Rahab, and Tamar who lived around 1400 B.C. As I imagined living in their shoes I learned, as Dana is learning, that it wasn’t “stuff” that made their lives worth living. It was hope. It was love. It was faith.

That leads us to the day’s final questions: What is it that I can’t live without?

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