Standard of Living





I realized today that I am an odd bird. I know I can lean to the "tad bit eccentric" side of the personality scale. What I mean is, I realized I am odder than even I first thought. (Okay, most of you already knew that, but I am just now catching on.)

I am listening to a business book from Audible.com (a site I can't recommend highly enough...a bibliophile's symphony of words!), and I heard the phrase "standard of living". My mind instantly thought of Shalom. Not the word "Shalom", but the whole thing...the whole idea of the word...the whole lifestyle of that word as it applies to relationships.

Yes. When I heard the phrase "standard of living", from a book on business, I naturally thought first of my relationships, not of how big my house is, or the level of our income. Weird, I know.

The relationship that is the most strained in our lives might be our relationship with our oldest son, the Marine. The relationship we have with him is better than it has been in recent years - we call it "strained" based on our standard of living. We are accustomed to lots of unity and joy in our relationships. We are accustomed to being close with friends and family.

He came all the way home from Camp Le Jeune, of his own volition, to surprise us over the past Labor Day weekend. He just wanted to be home. We weren't expecting him, and sometime after midnight on Friday night/Saturday morning, there he was, standing in our hallway. Sort of a Hallmark moment, only I was on Ambien. Think of the Waltons, only the momma is on drugs come bedtime, and John Boy chews tobacco and can be mean as a snake.

We were happy to see him, and we enjoyed a great weekend together, the whole family. Most families would take that in a heartbeat. We consider the relationship "strained" based on the depth of relationship and unity we are accustomed to having in our family. We are used to a higher standard of living. Because of past hurts and a few as-yet unresolved issues, things aren't quite Shalom....yet.

But dang. We are so rich. Honestly? We are a stinking well-off couple, my preacher and I. Our standard of living is high.

We are so in love. I'm talkin' the sort of love that cheers each others heart significantly, secretly squeezes each others glutes, goes out for walks and ice cream, and a gaze that still meets across a crowded room. Eyes that light up when we see each other...that kind of love. High, high standard of living. Lotsa Shalom.

And we like each one of our kids, and their spouses. In his sweet, funny, open, dinner-table moments, I take such great delight even in that "strained" relationship with my oldest son. I know it won't be strained forever. Strained...not estranged. That's the grace of God, in action.

And we have friends. Such friends, we have! Men and women who serve God with passion and purpose, and who love well, and who lavish grace on one another. My friends show me Jesus, all the time. We have friends new, and friends old. Friends young, and friends old. Friends who are mentors, and friends who are mentees.

Standard of living? Ours is off the charts. We don't eat ribeye steak very often, but we do have lots of grilled chicken - sometimes a bit dry, granted - but we live in good, healthy relationship, even though we had to wage a little war to make the peace.

Almost Undisturbed Shalom.

"Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife." Proverbs 17:1
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