I’ve always considered myself to be a rather high maintenance person, with a desire for the finer things in life. Heck, I want to work in an industry that some might peg as totally materialistic. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never struggled with feeling content with a mediocre lifestyle. If there has been one thing challenged on the Camino, it’s been this.
It’s amazing how a dramatic change in living conditions can completely change you as a person. For the past 30 days I’ve been living out of a backpack, traveling on foot somewhere between 20-40 Kilometers a day and relying on the small inconvenient service in Spanish bars to provide the nutrition I need.
The other day I was walking with Lizzie and we planned to stop at the next town for lunch. We had lost the friends we were walking with, my feet were tired, I was cold because I didn’t have a jacket, my phone was dead, and I was excited to scarf down some mediocre food. We went from bar to bar until we found one with wifi and a working outlet. The only open outlet was in the corner of the bar next to a slot machine, and you have to hold my charger in the outlet otherwise it doesn’t work. So there I was, sitting on the floor in the corner of a bar trying to charge my phone just enough to contact our friends, meanwhile eating a chocolate croissant that had been in the pastry case for who knows how long. The funny thing with all that was, I could not have been happier.
I was so grateful for the small amount of heat the bar provided, the ability to sit down and rest my feet, and the slow but working wifi that I had. Perhaps the whole situation wouldn’t have been so funny had I felt as pathetic as I probably looked. I was ACTUALLY content.
It reminds me of Paul’s message in Philippians when he says “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to being content in every and any situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Vs. 12). Granted, I wasn’t starving and there is a whole lot more desperate one can be than I was. However, I feel like I got just a glimpse of what it’s like to find contentment when experiencing life that does not measure up to one’s average lifestyle standards.
Now I’d just like to say that I don’t think it’s bad to enjoy the finer things in life. God has blessed me immensely and believe me when I say I can not wait to get back to a full sized bed and a closet that can hold more clothing than my backpack! God has just shown me it’s possible to find joy and contentment should we not have the certain luxuries. I know that no matter what God gives me or takes away, I can be content in Him and His promise of everylasting love.