Mybe, instead of trying to post on some lofty subject every day, I should just write down what I think every day. Then everyone could use me a the subject of their sociology papers, or, perhaps, get a small peek into the life of the eccentric man. I don’t really think I’m that eccentric of different from “normal” people. However, every day people act like my life is absurd. I find this amusing at times, and totally frustrating at other times. Why should I have to conform to some other person’s idea of normal?
I write this from the little about-to-fall-apart table which I found in the unheated basement in which I currently reside for the winter. People say I’m nuts to live down here. I tell them it beats the alternative. My other house is under construction, has no heater, and was a balmy 14F yesterday. Sure, there are some amenities that I’m missing down here. But, I have learned what many a homeless person must know. First, I joined Planet Fitness. For ten dollars, I get a many showers as I need and restroom facilities. For all the other days, I find myself in public institutions and Walmarts enough to take care of my sanitary needs. Everthing else that I really need, I have. My old futon mattress works quite nicely on the old fold-up bed I found in the basement. With the addition of the heated mattress pad, it’s quite a cozy sleeping arrangement. I have a hot plate on which to make tea. I have a can opener, so my favorite foods are instantly available. And the entire floor make a great refrigerator, so no worried about spoiling leftovers.
I never intended to live this way. But, I consider it a blessing to have had the privilege to learn some survival skills. I also find it helpful to have walked in the shoes of others for whom I now am an advocate. I think of the words of Jesus, “the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” So, at the moment, I am in good company. I also think of the words of St. Paul, who said that he knew what it was like to be poor and rich, and the great joy of his life was that he had learned to be content with either.
There are a lot of people that I know who have sprawling villas in nice locations, with lots of heat, large bathrooms, jacuzzis, four-car garages, country club memberships, every amenity one can imagine. The question I have is whether or not they are content. Especially in our society of serving up the rich as the enemy, do rich people sleep well at night? Of course, the very fact that we attack the rich out of jealousy says a lot about the contentment of the rest of us.
What do I really need in my life? What makes my life full and rewarding? It’s certainly not all the junk I have accumulated. It certainly isn’t the moments like last night, when one of the furnaces stopped working on the coldest day of this winter. What I really need is a reason to get up every day. So, I need people in my life. I need people to whom I am obliged to be of service. And I need other people who encourage me when I begin to lack contentment with my lot in life. And, I need God, a God who promises that all things work for the good of those he loves. This is the source of contentment. I certainly don’t need a TV, which is the source of much discontent. So, thankfully, I don’t have access to one, nor do I desire to. Packers parties are everywhere, so the one thing I like to watch is available.
Well, that’s all I feel like writing today. It’s just been awhile, so I felt I should write something. It’s like the gyro effect of the bicycle wheel. It’s much easier to balance when it’s spinning. So, writing is much easier when one perpetuates its motion. It’s getting a little hard to type, now. I had to borrow my heated rubber mat that usually sits under the keyboard to put under my house. Seems the the ground pipe froze again, so I’m carefully thawing it out. At last check, it seems like half of the pipe is warm, so it shouldn’t be too long before the water will flow again. Of course, at the moment, it doesn’t affect me much, since the water is shut off anyway until I move back in the spring. Now, off to a nice warm Chinese restaurant for lunch and some reading, where they all know me as baoluo (保罗） and they keep the hot tea coming. After that, I might stop at the library, or Walmart, for, well, you know.