The Good Life?


Soft Closing Drawers‘ is the third installment in a four part series from Consumed Contributor, Bec OatesTo read all related blog post, click here.

I still fart in India.

You know, in case you thought going to India meant I was the pure and holy type whose farts rise straight to the heavens like an offering of incense to God.


All bodily functions remain intact… in fact, enhanced.

I was quite happily bundled up in my life of consumption until God rudely interrupted me. I thought I had taken my brush with poverty quite well. I’d rationalised my childish thoughts about “what would Jesus do” and all those annoying passages in the bible about the poor and decided that having a mortgage was what following Jesus was all about. I was #blessed I guess.

Sigh… India.

It’s so terribly unoriginal of me to go to India really, and oh how I hate to be unoriginal. Let’s say a reckless prayer, sell all our possessions and take our four kids and go to India.  Classic move. But there you have it. I turned 40, and all hell broke loose.

It all started because of my Sunday depression. Every Sunday afternoon after a larger than necessary lunch and a Nana nap I would feel restless, irritable, discontent. For those couple of unscheduled hours my brain would enter the territory of the Whotif. Surely you know it, like a Dr. Zuess character. I become consumed with thoughts about Whotif.

Whotif I was tall blonde and skinny and lived in Europe? Whotif I bought a house that far outweighs my needs in the burbs, and wore an apron and cooked muffins every second Tuesday? Whotif I had started dancing when I was 4, I could have been a prima ballerina!! OH MY GOD I’ve wasted my life, and now I can’t be a prima ballerina!!

Its hellish territory. My husband wisely finds himself intensely interested in the garden during these interludes, he knows Whotif territory rarely escapes the areas of the house where coma inducing food stores can be found.

Now God might be Big. But I wasn’t sure he was bigger than the Whotif. In fact, God was seeming a bit dull to be honest, he had lost his happy pants. He had me working. Like, in a job. He also had me doing household chores like washing laundry, cooking meals, doing dishes. Had he lost his marbles? Didn’t he know who I was? How spectacular I was with my Whotif potential?

He clearly needed some guidance, which I was kind enough to give him. So many ideas I lay before him during my weekly supplication. And nada. Nothing. No direction, no master plans for greatness. Just good old fashioned living. How dull.

Clearly, I needed to spice things up. And so began my obsession with …. the house. The dream home. That’s what you do when you are heading towards your forties, you build the second home. The home where you will raise 4 beautiful smiling children, swim in the pool (with new body that comes with said new house), bake muffins, greet husband who returns from work loosening his tie,  wear reading glasses and turtle necks in the study full of books at my minimalist desk, and greet guests with a slightly embarrassed “oh nonsense my house isn’t that great, what?, this old thing?” smile at my pivot swinging front door. Praise Jesus!

And so it began. The house building years.

I stole one of my kids scrap books from their school bag and started to finally use those cut and pasting skills Mrs. Nuski taught me in year one. It was a work of art. Pages and pages filled with clever pictures of my desires, wants, and needs. I say needs. Comments expertly jotted using black fine liner because blue pen is so not the right pen for your house bible.

I searched high and low for an architect with the appropriately thick and round spectacles that said I spend a lot of time looking at small details, but I can totally turn your Hamptons style dream home into a reality on your block of sand for shizzle.

And so, I laid down my house bible at his brogue covered feet and walked backwards out of his office in reverence and awe.

And then it started. Like a bowel obstruction. A gripey feeling deep in your gut that won’t go away. My husband and I both had it. Was it the prawns we ate? Did we accidentally swallow some knives without noticing? Or, heaven forbid, was this God?

Peace. We just had no peace about the building of our far more than we required dream home. We tried everything to get peace. We stuck our fingers in our ears and yelled lalalalalala, we sped up our already speedy pace of life to a formula one style of living with intention baby! And as a last resort we even offered to start a bible study group in the lounge of our new house (the formal front of the house lounge with a fire place, not the middle of the house lounge near the eating area with the 8 foot feature stone wall, or the children’s lounge, or the outside entertaining area). But God didn’t listen. We just had no peace. And so, we did what all good children do when their Father says no. We carried on regardless figuring God clearly had this one wrong.

I continued the preparations for my house, a bit like the kids building a sand castle even though the tide is coming in, ignoring the aforementioned bowel obstruction type gripe that had started to take hold of us during our house building frenzy.

Unfortunately, the feeling didn’t go away, in fact it all came to a horrifying peak in an untimely fashion at my architect’s office during my kitchen to make my friends weep with jealousy but in a humble “it’s just a kitchen” design discussion.

We were discussing the finer points of my place of food worship, discussing the cabinetry to be exact. Decisions needed to be made, and thanks to my hours of internet research, I was just the woman to make them. How many draws verses cupboards will I need, what were the dimensions of my 2 ovens, and exactly how much did I want to bend my back when pulling out my award winning roast, do I want to wash my dishes with a view of the outdoor area? or the living area?, critical stuff.

And then my life changed.

He asked a question, well it was more like a statement really because naturally my answer would be yes. He sat back in his chair, my bespeckled architect and almost as an afterthought he mentioned “You will, of course, have soft closing drawers?”

And then it happened.

Like the movement of enormous pent up constipation, the foundations of my life fell away before me and I realised my life was disgusting, an offence to God and to my brothers and sisters.

Because I am so consumed with comfort that I require a mechanism in the back of my drawers to ensure that they don’t bang when I shut them. Because if my drawers were to bang, that would make my life uncomfortable.

And in India, there is a woman, who is so desperately poor that she is selling her own daughter into a lifetime of abuse. Daily, hourly, unthinkable abuse.

I sat there, in the architect’s office, and I knew.

There would be no house.

Because my answer was no. No, I do not want soft closing drawers.

Bec is a strikingly ordinary individual and a faulty follower of Jesus. She is best known for awkward moments, inappropriate thoughts and Australian humour. Her blogs reflect her deep commitment to discovering God and her passion for the poor. Bec has a husband, four ankle biters and a dog that matches the cushions on her couch, because that’s important.