Cultural Difference

Last week, in the same way that I have done many times over since returning to the United States from Haiti, I had a light bulb moment in the middle of a regular activity. These light bulbs go off in response to a question I keep finding myself asking, “Is this something that people in Haiti might do?”

Then, as I reflect on my answer, I start to think about so many other places in the world that I could compare my life to, so many other environments that I take for granted, which I am almost embarrassed to think of talking about to someone in a country or place that would never have the same situation.

For sure, I had that experience when talking to one of our translators in Haiti. He was asking me if I had a car. I said yes I have a car, and in my mind I’m thinking and I have a house and I have a yard and I don’t have to worry where my next meal comes from. He was impressed with the fact that I had a car, so I told him that it is very common for Americans to have cars, especially in places like Texas where there is limited access to transportation, and things that we do in our daily life are so far apart that it’s a distance we cannot reasonably walk to, and basically a car is almost a requirement.

Yes, I was making an excuse. Thought I was trying to think of a way to make him understand that having a car did not make me wealthy or privileged. However, it actually does make me privileged. Even in America, there are many people who do not have a car because they cannot afford it. It is, after all, expensive to buy the car itself, and then to keep it up in an adequate manner. Gas, oil, insurance, tolls, repairs… All of these things add up to a pretty expensive item!

So, last week, as I was pushing the lawn mower around my yard, I begin to appreciate how green the grass actually is. As is often the case, I said a prayer of thanks to God for providing us with so much rain. that’s when I started to think about more than just the rain.

As I mow my lawn, I realize that although I am not wealthy by American Standards I have a backyard. The grass is green, and it grows enough that I have to cut it on a regular basis. I realize that although I’m not Wealthy by American Standards, I own a lawn mower. I am able to afford gas to power it. My arms and legs are whole and capable of pushing the machine for the full 30 minutes it takes to cut the grass.

Yes, I am thankful for all of these blessings and more.

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