With the gratitude word being thrown around during this time of year, I have a confession: I give stuff, material goods a lot of power and influence in my life.
Since I was a small girl, I remember always wanting things.
The idea of wanting more popped into my head during a church service this last weekend. As the pastor kept talking, I began to ponder my materialistic evolution.
In elementary school, I was shipped in by bus to the “city.” At school, kids wore fresh new in-style sneakers. Boys parted their hair on one side and wore collared shirts. The popular girls had bouncy hair and neatly ironed clothes.
Then there was me.
My blonde fro hair looked like one of the “Jackson 5.” I wore bell bottoms and a marijuana leaf t-shirt. There was a thick layer of dirt under my nails. I was fresh off the hippie farm in the 1970s.
Stuff or things had very little meaning. I had little knowledge of the latest gadget, toy, or the need to fit into the latest fad.
After moving into the city from the farm, a dramatic change took place: I began to want what my well to do “rich” classmates had…the designer jeans, the latest shoes, video games…
My family lived in a series of modest old rental homes throughout the city. My parents worked hard to make ends meet at their blue-collar jobs.
I wanted. I wanted. I wanted.
While my dad would lecture: “What do you think I am Mr. Gottrocks?” My mom, on the other hand, wanted so badly to give us not just her children’s needs, but their wants. She opened credit cards that would be run up again and again. On shopping trips with my mom in department stores, I would rarely stand at the register during check-out for fear of the infamous “over the credit limit call.”
In retrospect and now as a parent, I feel selfish and guilty for always wanting “more.”
Isn’t that how it works, generally speaking, we are never fully satisfied? The latest “thing” seems never to be enough. The thought of how I have fallen victim to the dark, weak part of our society whose thirst is never quenched is depressing – especially on Thanksgiving Day.
Growing up on the farm there was no competition between neighbors or friends. Life was simple. I never recall craving more stuff. I do remember being happy and satisfied.
I remember one of the first times when I “had” to have something… the white leather moccasin style shoes. The shoe model was perfectly positioned on the wall of shoes. It sparkled and beckoned me to come closer.
And so my life began a never ending series of wanting more stuff, and not being satisfied with what I had in front of me. Flashes of my history made me feel melancholy. By the end of my step back in time, I am, frankly, disappointed with my incessant need for things.
Last night as we arrived at our Thanksgiving family destination, I broke away from the chatter of the house. The crisp night air was invigorating. I glanced up to the darkness of the night sky filled with a magnificent display of stars. Each one placed in its own fixed spot seemed to shout, “See me, here I am. Are you enjoying me?”
I realized the need to recapture that pure, raw gratitude I once had in my life. And that I should not dwell on things, but moments. I want to live a life that has deeper meaning and is overflowing with moments – both good and bad.
How much better would our world be if we were all simply happy with what we have and basked in moments? What a life-altering thought.