For what I have received may the Lord make me truly thankful. And more truly for what I have not received. – Storm Jameson
Years ago, I was working in an arts center where a Russian couple had come to work for a year. I was a single parent with 3 children and had very little spending money, but compared to the Russian couple, I was wealthy. I don’t remember how the subject came up, but I believe that I made the comment that I could not afford something and that at that moment, I was poor. The wife responded with something that often echoes in my ear. She said, “I love being poor. It makes me feel alive.”
For a moment, that comment sucked the air out of me. I HATED being poor, and I had difficulty imagining something different than hating poverty. However, over the years, I have begun to process what the lady said to me on that day.
People who have everything lack the one thing that is most important in life: they lack the experience of wanting–of identifying what they want–of identifying what is important enough to want. For people who have everything, things begin to lose value. For those people, everything has the same value: $Easily Attainable–$Easy Come–$Easy Go.
It has always perplexed me that suicide rates are extremely high among the privileged–especially among the *stars* who never want for anything at all. Stars not only have every material thing that they want, but they also receive an unlimited amount of attention. What was the problem?
In my opinion, people who have everything forget what it is like to deal with the living of life in a real and tangible way. When you don’t have everything, living becomes more immediate. People without unlimited resources are forced to continuously appraise themselves–to ask themselves what they need next and why? The act of living becomes physical–it becomes minute-to-minute, and isn’t that the premise behind the Zen quest to live in the moment?
In my opinion, people who have everything lose contact with the moments that comprise the living of life, and they become numb.
Writing Prompt: What do you think that the Jameson quote means?
Do you see any value in doing without?
Blog your response and leave a link in this post’s comment box.