Living in a land of plenty or should I say ‘excess’ presents a challenge for me. Aggressive advertisers tell us our wants or rather their wants for us—a new outfit, a nice car, a theater ticket, a second house, yet another t-shirt, hat, or sweater.
While on vacation in the Canadian Rockies (see my August 28 blog for photos if you missed them) I walked in and out of more souvenir shops than I can count. Granted, I didn’t have to go inside but curiosity got the best of me every time––and it was something to do in the few moments remaining before reboarding the tour bus for our next adventure. I learned a lot from my walk-throughs and observations.
I soon discovered that if I’d seen one, I’d seen them all. The only difference being the stitching on the sweatshirts and the printing on the coffee cups. When in Whistler, so said the shirts and cups. When in Jasper . . . and when in Banff National Park . . . and in Victoria . . . You know what I’m getting at.
Not that there is anything wrong with selling or buying these and myriad other items, but the amount of ‘stuff’ made me think hard about the millions of people on the planet without a shirt to wear or a cup to drink from, let alone one that is neatly monogrammed and for a price that most couldn’t afford ever.
I’m rethinking my priorities this week. Sitting quietly in prayer for a moment or two will calm my anxious heart and set me straight again. A walk and a cup of tea feels about right. A day with my great grandson and his mom will be pure delight. Diving into a cozy mystery sounds like a great way to end my day.
And when I do have to shop–whether for food, or clothes, or gifts, I want to remember what matters most to me–a simple, uncluttered life where my old car still runs perfectly, sweaters and pants from three years ago are still just fine, and enough food for a few days instead of several weeks is all I need.
I can’t solve big problems like world hunger and housing shortages and politics gone awry but I can keep a short account in my own life so I have money and goods and love to share with others who may be less fortunate than I.
I like Paul’s words in Philippians 4:12 … “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
I hope to keep this verse firmly in mind during the week ahead. What do you think?