What is abundance? Food. Plenty of food. Not a wasteful, gluttonous amount; but plenty. Nobody is going to go hungry today! After experiencing gut wrenching poverty for the first time in my American life, the first thing that I think of is food. House? Bills paid? Nice clothes? Shiny car? Nope, food. The rest feels like details. Maybe the next time I experience serious economic problems I will see it through the eyes of a person who has no shelter and I will feel differently. I will think of having solid walls around me to keep me safe and warm. Experiencing poverty changed my family deeply, irreversibly I believe. For one thing, I worry about food. My husband worries about work. He is just starting to recover enough to be able to contemplate different work. That fear is there, lurking below the surface. What if I lose a job and cannot find a new one? I am surely not knocking steady, full-time employment. It has a lot of pleasant benefits. Affordable(ish) health care, paid vacation time, guaranteed paycheck on the first and fifteenth of each month, sick time, an occasional pizza, retirement fund. You get the picture, it is a pretty good deal. But at what price? I do have relative food security, I have an abundance of food. But, my husband works 6 days a week. The regular 40 hour job doesn’t quite generate enough on its own so it must be supplemented. We have two young kids, I am responsible for their health and well being as well as of their education. Do they have an abundance? They do not have an abundance of their Dad, or of time spent as a complete family. I have even less of an abundance of their Dad. Right now for instance, he is sound asleep. Went to bed with the kids. Why? Because all he has is an abundance of hours of work. He worked from 6:30 this morning till a bit after 6 this evening and the morning alarm will ring soon. Is this really the American dream that people move here looking for? Really? By the time he can retire and be home, our kids will be long gone with kids of their own. That is time that you simply cannot make up. I propose a rebellion. A rebellion against the status quo. Against the standard American life. It is pretty distasteful, just like the standard American diet. I suggest we rebel against how many square feet of home we are told will make us be/look successful and happy, against the advertisement that keeps telling me I need to drive a Sienna in order to keep my kids safe, and a rebellion against vicarious living through pinterest. That if I am not building light tables and doing hours of super-awesome crafty projects with my kids all day long I am a worthless parent. I propose that we stand up and acknowledge that we understand how skewed the standard life we are spoon fed from a young age is. Look it in the eye and reject it. We are extraordinary people after all, we deserve extraordinary lives filled with abundance. An abundance of food, family, friends, fun. Relationships and experiences are what make our lives meaningful. Forget about how it will look to your peers. Forget what the Jones’ might say about you. Revel in an abundant life.
Monthly Archives: July 2014