Luxury lifestyle

I am aware that we have some great luxuries in our lives. Last night, after a long day at work, I lit the barbecue. I still cook with charcoal because I enjoy the flavor. After the coals were warm, P put a couple of baking potatoes on the grill. 45 minutes later I added a couple of rib-eye buffalo steaks. We ate outside on our deck with the sun sinking low on the horizon and the shadows of the pine trees stretching out. The deer in the back yard decided to cross to the other side of the road and we watched them jump and run. They caused a couple of cars to slow a bit, but all made it across. We lingered for a few minutes after we had eaten, enjoying the evening and being together.

Mornings and evenings in the hills are especially wonderful. The animals are moving about. The air is cool. The smell of the pine trees is refreshing.

I know that there are people who live in cities who have bigger places than we did when we lived in Chicago, but I remember the feeling of living in a one bedroom efficiency apartment with no balcony and a few of a small area of grass with one tree that is maybe the size of our current home.

If one has to ride out a pandemic at home, we have a deep luxury of space. Our home sits on a half acre lot. I’ve been known to complain about the size of the lot because we don’t have a riding lawn mower, but it is an incredible luxury.

And one of the biggest luxuries of our lives is that we can go to sleep in our house with the ground floor windows open to the sounds of the coyotes and crickets and birds. We can sleep with no fear of burglars. In Chicago first floor windows had to have bars to prevent break in.

Last night I was on the phone with a representative of our Internet service provider. The Internet service to our home, which includes our “landline,” a voice over internet system, was not working. There is utility work in our back yard and it is likely the cable was disrupted with some of the work. The representative was polite and kind and lives in our state. With so many service providers employing international call centers, it ls nice to have some local service. The representative apologized for the disruption in service and promised to have a repair person out this morning. I’ve had a lot of calls for service that were way more frustrating than last night’s call.

What is more, we have a reliable cellular connection and can use our cell phones as mobile hot spots to remain connected. I’ll be able to upload this journal entry when I complete it even though the high speed Internet in our home is down.

We live a life of high luxury.

When one lives with such privilege, it is a challenge to discover how to share. I’m well aware that there are a lot of people in our community who do not have such a privilege. I walk along the greenbelt regularly. I walk by the Hope Center and the Rescue Mission. I know that there are situations in our town where people are living 8 or 12 people in houses that are a fraction of the size of ours. Many of those people don’t have access to cars. For them the ten mile commute from our house to our office would be an incredible challenge. We rarely use the same car, preferring to stagger our work hours and using two cars.

When sickness draws near, we have the resources to obtain treatment. In the case of the current pandemic, we have not even had to disrupt our workplace. The building is pretty quiet because others can’t come in the ways that we once took for granted, but we have had full access to our offices and workspace. There are a lot of people who don’t have the luxury.

I am also aware that much of the privilege I enjoy is unearned. I was born into a family where education was valued and supported. I was encouraged to travel and explore. I had choices when it came to career and though a bit more limited, choices about where I would live. We have sought to be faithful to our calling and go where the church asked us, but we have been able to have our careers in the general areas of the country we chose. While there are a lot of careers that might have resulted in more income and more savings for retirement, we have not suffered. Our needs have been met.

The years, however, have passed. I find myself a bit more tired after a day of work. I rise with a few aches in my joints. I climb the hills at a slower pace these days. I have more days when I work but accomplish less than I used to be able to accomplish. I’m getting ready to downsize to less grass to mow and less house for which to care. We’ve been thinking and talking a lot about the next phase of our lives. So we are savoring the luxury of the big deck and the big back yard and the cool of the evening and the taste of well seasoned food cooked over a fire just a little bit more these days. We know it is about time to allow another family to discover this home and enjoy its deck and yard. By the time we get it sold, the Internet service will be restored and it will be a great place for a family.

What is more, the next place we go will be a place of privilege and luxury as well. The very fact that we are able to make a move is a sign of our privilege. We’ve been very fortunate in this life.There is yet more joy to come.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!