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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: First World Problem (04/17/14)

TITLE: Too Many Choices
By Lois Farrow


Julie stared speechless at the supermarket shelves in front of her. Loaves of bread filled the aisle as far as she could see. Bright packaging assaulted her, endless varieties confused her, the overwhelming sterility of all that plastic seemed so foreign; it was too much. Eyes misted over and there was no way Julie could read the labels or think how to make a choice. She fled to the car and wept.

“Where’s the bread?” Tim asked when she arrived home.

“There’s too much choice, I couldn’t cope,” and she wept afresh.

He folded her gently in his arms, and soon he started giggling.

“That’s funny, you know,” he said at last. “For the last six years we’ve been in the middle of nowhere with very few choices each day. We were looking forward to coming home and having choice in what we bought and now it is too overwhelming. Perhaps we should go back to the simple life!”

Julie wiped her eyes and smiled.

“It will take a while fitting back in to society again, that’s for sure.” Julie thought of the busy week they’d had setting up home again, getting the three girls enrolled in school, and making up for lost time with family and friends. With cupboards filled by their home group, this was the first time she’d had to go to the supermarket.

They made a cup of tea and sat to reflect on their time away. As a water engineer Tim had been sent to install wells and water systems in remote villages in Nepal. The four-day trek from the nearest town was a delight even when Julie was pregnant or had a new baby in tow. As the girls grew they too enjoyed trekking along the mountain tracks. They all loved village life in the verdant valleys in the shadow of the imposing peaks of the Himalayas.

Friendships were formed with the villagers and Julie soon learned how to bake her own bread in the simple clay oven. Part of each day was spent gathering wood for the fire. She learned to cook simple dishes with local ingredients. Anything not found growing locally had to be carried in, you didn’t bring anything that was not absolutely necessary. Sacks of flour made it, and other necessities, but they learnt mostly to live like the locals. In spite of periodic times of frustration, they loved it. She even learned to love her daily prayer times while washing the family laundry in the cold running water of the village creek.

Now the job was completed and their oldest daughter ready for College. They were home, and they looked forward to being near grand parents and friends. But it would take a bit of adjusting to city life in a first world country again. Traffic had increased enormously in their time away, and the number of people on the streets was overwhelming. At times they found themselves thinking wistfully of peaceful mountains and the simplicity of daily routines of village life.

But now a vast range of choices were confronting her and she knew this was her current problem. She took a deep breath.

“Help me Lord,” she said. “Thank you for taking us there and thank you for bringing us home. Be with me and keep me calm as I cope with all these changes.”

Note: Names and some details have been changed.

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This article has been read 183 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 04/24/14
Wow - how amazing, what a startling contrast to the life we take for granted. And, yet...how humbling to see that God lead you to an area that allowed growth "inwardly" and "outwardly." Thanks for sharing this story. It touched my heart and allows for an entire introspective analysis.

God bless~
C D Swanson 04/24/14
I wish there was an "edit" button...lol. correction:

Supposed to read: God "led" you.

God bless~
Sharon Eastman04/24/14
I really liked this story. It was well written, comprehensive, and a good take on the topic. Thanks for sharing.
C D Swanson 05/01/14

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/01/14
Congratulations for ranking 1st in your level and 15 overall. The highest rankings can be found on the message boards.
Tracy Nunes 05/02/14
Congratulations Lois!