By KATHRYN TAUBERT
We don’t have enough (of the right stuff) to do.
We work all day, into the night, put a tub of fast food on the table and call it dinner, rush out to the soccer game, scream at our children when they succeed. Or when they don’t. We fight with the neighbors over the color of their mailbox, complain about the economy, politics, religion, in-laws, and the fact that we have two trash pick-up days instead of one, because “it looks bad to have garbage sitting on the curb two days a week.”
We’re too busy. With all the wrong stuff.
I sat in a meeting the other day while people exchanged concerns over the color (or lack of it) of flowers in the median.
I overheard a conversation at dinner out one night between a couple fighting over the fact that she would rather have gone to the other restaurant instead.
I watched a screaming child in the grocery because Mom refused to buy him a toy.
I followed a car going 45 in a 50 mph zone, while others practically tore off her fenders in passing anger.
I sat next to two men having lunch while one so monopolized the conversation that even I got frustrated.
I asked for a small dessert and got a platter that put two pounds on me just looking at it.
I went to the paint store, looked at the displays for a minute and then left, not having the momentary tolerance for so much choice.
I came back to my lovely home and breathed a sigh of relief that all I had to listen to was my cat’s greeting and the hum of the refrigerator.
Having seen how people in a developing country deal with having nothing, I’m even more mindful of how ineffectively we deal with having everything. Living with one pair of shoes, a single towel, a bucket for a shower, simple food, and Village filled with gentle people causes withdrawal. (Or is it “detox?”)
I could become even more of a recluse if I’m not careful.
So what’s the answer?
In the village of Kloe, Ghana, there were no squabbling children. At least, not until I gave two kids different writing pens and one decided he liked the other kid’s better.
That was my first clue.
Sometimes too much choice is as bad as not enough. Our plentiful lifestyle has led us to a lack of appreciation for what we do have and a craving for what we don’t. Having it all isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to give it all back! I worked hard for what I have. I’m just taking a whole ‘nother look and deciding that I don’t need nearly as much as I have, and what I want is generally more than I need. I think I’m going to scale down even more.
If I can decide what to get rid of first. The choices are almost overwhelming.
I gotta’ get a grip.