My husband and I are unintentionally living our version of the American dream.
Our home and family probably look normal to everyone else, but it’s far from what I imagined back in college. As part of a “Claiborne-again” intentional community that eschewed individualism and excess, I learned to live extremely simply then. My housemates and I sat together on the floor (no couches or tables for us!) and ate food salvaged from the almost-spoiled discount rack. We shared clothing. We found ways to creatively use everything.
But after college, instead of giving away our last penny and living with the poor in some remote corner of the world, my husband and I did what most people do: we got jobs. We started accumulating wealth. While others got laid off in the recession, my husband stayed on, receiving generous raises as his company recovered. We didn’t feel God calling us anywhere else, so we stayed. It made economic sense to buy a condo instead of rent, so we did. Then, when we had a baby and outgrew our condo, we bought a house further out in the suburbs.
So here I am, the college kid that dumpster-dived and lived in a commune, paying the mortgage on a five-bedroom house and wringing my hands over a steady stream of disposable income and growing net worth. I’m rich (relatively speaking), and I’m really uncomfortable with my new status.
I look back at my old self with nostalgia and incredulity. Following Jesus was built into my lifestyle when I was living simply, sharing everything, and willing to go to the ends of the earth for him. What does it look like for me now?
Like many in the millennial generation, I remain passionate about social justice. And yet, I find myself on the advantaged end of ...1
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