A friend of mine, who has gone through some hard times the past few years, mentioned that she gets along better with her grandparents generation than with her generation, or even her parents' generation. The oldest generation includes the people who grew up without "modern conveniences". They are the people who understand that sometimes bad things happen, and there doesn't need to be a reason or explanation. They are the ones who "stand strong" in the face of adversity (not all of them, but many of them).
So, when I listen to the baby boomers complain about their retirement (where they will still make more money than I would if I were to re-enter the workforce now), or Generation X complain about divorce or house prices or kids, or "my" generation complain about having to do anything that requires effort, I wonder what the difference is.
I theorized earlier in my blog that maybe it's just life experience, but is it truly something more?
We spent a few days for my birthday at Great Wolf Lodge. It was the first time our kids had been there, and for the first few days of our trip, their weren't any lines. When the day of our checkout arrived, it was Veteran's Day, and the hotel and water park were quickly very crowded. Our oldest was able to ride all but one of the water rides, and he did so voraciously the first few days. On the last day, he rode one or two rides, but quickly tired of "waiting in line". Granted, the lines were still only about 10-15 minutes at the most, but he had been so accustomed to not waiting in line, that the rides were no longer fun when he had to stand still for a few minutes.
When he spilled his ice cream in the lobby, not only did they call for someone to come help us clean it up, they sent someone back down to get more ice cream. This kind of convenience is what's available in today's world. It's a world where we feel that everyone "deserves" fabulous customer service and $15 an hour, no matter their education level, experience, or skill set. It's a world where we can complain about anything and take responsibility for nothing. It's a pretty scary world when you think about it.
Thanks to the Internet and "social media" we can discuss in greater length and detail what other people are complaining about instead of discussing how to truly fix poverty and education in the greater world. We feel validated by a certain number of blog visits, likes, or retweets, and we ignore the fact that what we are saying is completely ridiculous. The problem of convenience is that we don't want to give up anything to do something better with our lives.
When I woke from a dream about travelling to Africa to save some babies, I felt guilty, because the thing that bothered me the most in my dream was having to boil water before using it. It is harder for a rich person (i.e. an American) to enter the kingdom of heaven, because of our wealth. I hate to give up the conveniences that I've received simply by being born in this particular time and place.
What's the solution? Rather than fearing change or loss, we need to hold onto our possessions loosely. We need to pray, not for an easier road, but for the strength to keep going when times get tough. We need to pray, not for a better paying job, but for the ability to see God's will. I feel like if I knew for a fact that God was calling me somewhere, I would go, but I find myself doubting my call. Rather than praying for God to call you anywhere but "there", ask Him to call you clearly and you will follow. As Gideon prayed for two miracles before He believed what God was calling, don't be afraid to seek whether it's truly His will, but don't discount His will simply because of the modern conveniences you've grown accustomed to.
Don't feel guilty for enjoying the conveniences God has given, but don't hold on to them too tightly either. Don't be afraid to work hard and get dirty, that's what real life is all about.