I can count on one hand the times I have looked at craiglist.com.
Everyone probably knows that it is an online site similar to ebay. Items are listed for sale (or even free sometimes). One can search by city area, or even post a request for a particular item. I just have never used it much, but I decided to look on there tonight for some kind of fort to put in the backyard for the kids. I did not find any forts like I had in mind. But, I did find this strange post. The title of the post was "I will trade everything in my house for a car." I clicked on it and this is what I read:
"I am willing to give up any and everything in my home for a reliable little car. I have 3 kids....2 in car seats so I need 3 belts in the back. My car is completely busted and I have to get to work on Monday. I know you have heard the single mom bit...but I really am. I have a house full of stuff that is far less important and moreover, repleacable....but I have to get to work. Other than my kids clothes and beds, if you want it, I'll gladly give it up for a car. Couches, end tables, dishes, christmas tree, inflatable snowman, ficus trees, tv's, my bed (full), upright tool box, easy set pool...etc. Really nothing that I wont part with. Besides, I am moving and this will just make it easier to move, right? Thanks for reading. :)"
In light of the difficulties this woman is obviously facing, my search for a play fort seems kind of shallow. I need to see things like this fairly often to remind myself of my true goals. A play fort isn't evil, and I may still get one for the kids sometime. There is nothing wrong with play forts. But, so often my focus gets off-whack and I begin to think that acquiring, spending, making my own little family's life physically better, more comfortable, and fun is the main goal of my life...and it isn't. If I don't spend time truly contemplating the spiritual goals I desire to pass on to my children, I get caught up in the materialistic whirlwind that puts things first and people second. If my kids start thinking that ballet class, new shoes, and amusement parks are more important than listening to God, spending time forming relationships with the people He puts in our path, and giving generously out of the abundance He has given us, then I am failing. I am thankful I read this short blurb on craigslist. It helped me move my focus from my own selfish desires to thinking about the serious needs that so many all around me are facing every day. It helped shift my thinking from the temporary to the eternal. It caused me to ask What differences can I make in the lives of others? instead of What can I provide myself with next?
It was precisely the reminder that I needed at the moment. I'm glad I get these kinds of reminders often, because I can't seem to stay in "eternal thinking mode" for very long at a time.