There is an old Yiddish fable (written down and illustrated by Margot Zemach)
…about a poor man who lives in a hut with his mother, his wife and his six children. He’s too poor to build a bigger house so he goes to the Rabbi for help. The advice he receives is to, over a period of time, bring the farm animals, one at a time, into their house to live with them.
When conditions become completely unbearable the Rabbi tells him to put all the animals back in their barn.
The very next day the poor man ran back to the Rabbi.
“Holy Rabbi,” he cried, “you have made life sweet for me. With just my family in the hut, it’s so quiet, so roomy, so peaceful… What a pleasure!”
I think of this story often when I decide conditions in my life are bad. Like when our family grew too big to fit comfortably in our little car.
Then the car broke down and we had to ride around for a while in our old beater red pick-up truck, the one the kids called, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
When we were finally able to again ride around in our car it seemed so nice and comfortable.
The story came to mind once more when we were finally able to break away from our life helping at summer camp and return to visit our own home.
Although we thoroughly enjoy our days and nights in the forest spending time with youngsters and their enthusiastic leaders; there are some things I really found I miss.
Such as: speedy uploads to a cell phone. We have zero cell service in camp which is generally a very good thing, but when we do get to the hot spot the service is agonizingly spotty and slow. I miss Google—All-The-Time. I miss long hot showers, our bed, and my washer and dryer. As much as we appreciate campers willing to share their meals with us we get a little weary of food cooked over campfires or in our own microwave oven. But it could always be worse.
I remind myself how nice it is to be without television commercials, the noise of neighborhood traffic and the need to wear spiffy clothes. Today we arrived in town hungry for our evening meal. We went almost directly to a restaurant in our scruffy attire and ordered something besides hot dogs. What a pleasure!