A week or so ago, in passing, a friend made a comment about getting ready for vacation and the good life. As is so often the case when I hear something like that, her words hit home. My immediate response to what she said was “Really?” I enjoy toes in the sand and a good book to read and no list driving my day as much as the next person, but is that really the good life? Against that backdrop is this. I spent this past week in the heart of Appalachia sleeping on the floor, working in the drizzle and doing my best to keep track of the 19 high school students who were with me. Along with three college leaders and six other adults, we built a ramp so a man in a wheelchair could get out of his home and rebuilt leaking roofs for two different families. I find such work tremendously rewarding. I like helping those who find themselves in need. I need the regular reminder of our shared humanity when it is sometimes so easy to divide ourselves into us and them. Even us versus them. For me, something about moments like that fall into the category of the good life. At least, they help to make my life good.
Thinking about this reminded me of a similar story from a number of years ago.
I was in Nicaragua.
Again, with a group of high school students.
Along with a team of masons, we were building homes for two families.
At the end of the day, sweaty and dirty, we piled into the back of the pickup truck for the ride back to showers and our dinner. As we were about to get out of the truck, two girls who were in the truck with me looked at each and said, “Aren’t we beautiful.” Even though I was not asked, my response was, “Maybe never more beautiful than you are right now.”
Like I said a moment ago…
Like the next person, I enjoy toes in the sand and a good book to read;
But, at least for me, the good life is about something more than that.