Friday, February 18

Nothing succeeds like excess

How much of this do you REALLY need?
As mundane matters press upon us and our consumer-driven economy sputters, it is very natural and easy to lament over how things are horrible.  Long-time readers may recall that depression is an old 'friend' of mine, but I have recently found a potent antidote in gratitude. 

If you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, a place to sleep and food in the fridge, that puts you ahead of 3/4 of the world.  1 person in 8 doesn't have safe drinking water.  More people in the world have a cell phone than a toilet.  Nearly 15% of the households in the US don't know where the next meal is coming from.  I could go on, but you get the point.  And it's not a matter of "Thank God I'm not 'him' or 'her', but "Thank God I have what I do".  I know that what I have is mostly an accident of birth, that is to say that I had no part in the decision any more than the 5.2 billion people who don't have a roof, a bed, clothing and food. 

This extends to the job market and the economy.  Time and again I have heard that I should feel glad that I have a job, yet  how many times have you heard a job or career being called 'soul-sucking' even if the pay is good?  Grateful that I can pay my bills? Yes.  Grateful for a job that pushes you further from being a feeling, loving person?  Hell no!

And yet, it makes me think.  The western consumerist economy is all about working at a job we don't like to buy things we don't need (or terribly want) and to live a lifestyle that necessitates the aforementioned job to pay for it.  Why?  Our economy is run by today by corporate models which are created for 'the bottom line' and implemented by people who are legally required to make decisions based on short-term profits, not moral principles.  The Ford Pinto and Deepwater Horizon are two obvious and egregious examples, but there are so many it is hard to enumerate them all.

And here comes that Hippy again from today's reading.

"What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life?"

What does it matter if you have a new iPad if buying it means someone committed suicide?
What does it matter that you live alone in  a 4br house when there are homeless in the streets? 

He who dies with the most toys is still dead.

At what point do we say 'I have enough and I appreciate what I have?' 
At what point do we say 'I would rather be poor in ca$h and rich in spirit than the other way around?'
At what point do we say 'My life is more important than stuff?'

Dad gave us this life, this body, this world.  He gave us everything we need and we know that he will take care of us.  Be grateful.

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