What comes to mind when you think of luxury? It’s different for everyone and the circumstances that surround their life, but I doubt the first thing you thought of was toilet paper (it sure wasn’t for me). This thought struck me this morning while watching a documentary on two Cuban born baseball players that defected, left everything that they new as normal, in hopes that they may realize their dream here in America. Towards the end of the documentary, there was a scene of one of the ball players enjoying a celebratory parade as his team had just won the World Series. They showed him and his family, along with the rest of his teammates, being showered with confetti and toilet paper as they slowly passed through a sea of fans. Looking back on that moment, the wife of the Cuban ball player said, “there was toilet paper streaming down and we had none in Cuba”. What?!!! My American mind can’t imagine such conditions, and even more embarrassing, too often I forget how blessed I am to have the opportunities I have because I was lucky enough to be born in this country. Instead of being thankful and cherishing what God has blessed me with, I’m ashamed to admit that I find myself asking for more at times. The ball player in this parade scene went on to realize his dream, but it didn’t come easy. He, along with seven others left Cuba on a boat that took them to an island in the Bahamas. From there, they were to picked up by a different boat and taken to America. The first boat ended up stalling out at sea, leaving them stranded until they could get it fixed. Once they reached the island where the second boat was to pick them up, they found themselves deserted there for several days because that boat never showed up. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself on a deserted island, you have very little to no food, and no one knows you’re there. Just imagining this puts fear into my heart. I also imagine all you literally have in a moment like that is faith. A coast guard boat ended up finding them and took them to another island in the Bahamas where they were to be taken back to Cuba. Their dream of getting to America, crushed. Until a Cuban American stepped in and helped them all get visas. Everyone’s view is different, but all I saw was God working through every seemingly insurmountable mountain that got in the way of their journey. They went through all that in order to have a life in a country that I take for granted. I hope lessons like this don’t fade away and I lose sight of all the blessings God has given me. Also, I hope I never lose faith that God will overcome any mountain that will show up on my journey. Even though I have a new found respect for the luxury item that is toilet paper… I am thankful for so much more today. I know I wouldn’t be where I am without the freely given salvation made possible through the sacrifice of our savior Jesus Christ.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! (Psalm 100:4 ESV)