Thursday, July 07, 2005

Scarcity? We don't need no stinkin' scarcity...

I have come to learn that we have a lot of choices that guide our lives. One of the most central is how we view the world. Do we see it as, in the words of a quote I once read, "a fetid swamp...or as a bubbling spring". In the first there is scarcity, in the second a marvelous abundance.

All my life I have lived in a cultural sea of scarcity. I was a teen in the 1980's where many frineds had stickers on their lockers say "he who dies with the most toys wins". I grew up in the church, an organization which always talks about what we need to make the budget. I grew up watching TV commercials and looking at Sears Christmas Wish Books. To believe the voices out there, there is not enough and we have to grab what we want now before it runs out. And of course we always "need" more so the game never ends.

But what if we turned our back on the supposed scarcity? What if we started counting the abundances in our lives? What if we lived as if we had more than enough? The first step in this, to me, is to identify the difference between 'need' and 'want'. This is a lesson I remember my parents teaching me on many occasions -- usually to explain why my sister or I were not getting something ("you don't need it, you want it"). Another crucial step is to take account of what we have. WHen we always moan about what we don't have, we often lose sight of what we have. When we stop to add it up we may find that we really do have more than we ever dreamed.

I have come to the conclusion that we who live on the threshold of a new economy, who are being pushed to find new ways of living as the world changes, are only going to suffer if we keep moaning about what we don't have. Tee only way to survive dwindling congregations, plant/mill closures, higher gas and utility prices and all those other things that make us feel under siege is to stop and count up what we have. ANd then we can decide what can be done with what we have. My guess is that we will be much farther ahead if we turn our back on those who tell us we have great scarcities and no abundance (I may have fewer toys than others but I look at my daughters and I know that I have already won).

No comments:

Post a Comment