Consumer

It’s a subtle sort of greed

To want more than I need.

If bills are paid and we have food,

Can we not just call it “good?”

I don’t think desire’s wrong,

But how often does it grow too strong?

How often do we all complain

When there are limits to our gain?

We may not lack necessities,

Yet we crave more amenities.

How often do a person’s skills

Get hijacked for more dollar bills?

Things for which our passions burn

Go cold for us when used to earn.

Perhaps with human souls at stake,

We should do more for its own sake.

Stop ourselves from craving more

With so much to be grateful for.

Waste some time, an hour or day,

By shunning work for sake of play.

It might be easier said than done,

But is it “living” without fun?

If you have all you need right now,

Then wipe the sweat off of your brow.

Forget about your wanting stuff,

And know you’ve got more than enough.

Black Friday

Get it

Grab it

Have to have it

Can’t shake this consumer’s habit

Going rabid

Like an addict

Itching, aching need that hit

Escape the sadness

Love the madness

More stuff leads to much more gladness

Take what you can

That’s their demand

Products, people, money, land

We join the hoard

Because we’re bored

Distract ourselves, problems ignored

One day we’ll see

I hope we’ll see

This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

Letting Go

I am a huge fan of Ecclesiastes, a wisdom text of the Hebrew Bible, just past Proverbs. It’s a book that bursts the bubble of many biblical teachings. It’s view on life is more realistic to me.

Do the righteous always get the best things? No.

Are the wicked always punished? No.

Does more wisdom or foolishness help you avoid the end that awaits us all? Nope.

Are we humans truly the center, point, and focus of creation? Not even close.

Ecclesiastes is rough on the optimist and the narcissist. It announces that “the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity” (3:19, NRSV).

Yikes.

Yet I find Ecclesiastes to be the most liberating text I’ve ever read. It has a circular, cyclical view of reality. “That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is” (3:15, NRSV).

My favorite reminder, however, is this: “Moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil” (3:13, NRSV).

For the author, there is nothing better than this. He observes people endlessly striving to accumulate more and more, to become the wisest or richest or strongest. The realization that comes to him is that “All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again” (3:20, NRSV). Therefore, instead of wasting life in the rat race, we should make ample time to pause, to rest, to enjoy life.

“But wait!” says our culture, “That’s for retired people! You have to earn it by working yourself to an early grave! You need more, MORE, M O R E!”

We fall for this all the time. We take vacations maybe once a year. We work ourselves to death so we can get everything we are “supposed to have,” a house, a child, a new car. All the while, we miss family dinners, fly by moments we should absorb entirely, and let stressed-out consumerism run the show.

I was sitting on the floor with my son today, worrying about the fact that this is what I do. Training makes some money, but we’d be *much* better off if I also worked a 9-Whenever for a corporate gym.

Then I remembered Ecclesiastes.

ENJOY. ALL GO TO ONE PLACE.

More stuff and money won’t make me immortal. It will all go to someone else. But these moments with my son, my family? They are all mine, only available right now.

So I am letting go. This world can blitz itself into oblivion. But me? I’ve got people to love, places to be, time to “waste” not gaining a thing.

I already have it all.

Peace be with you!