The answer to the above question that I, for better or worse, arrived at is: no.
I had to buy something last week for work. I mean, it was for me, but it was in service of my work and I’ll be reimbursed for it, so…
With all of these disciplines I’m learning that a certain amount of grace is necessary. But when does “grace” turn into “excuse?”
It’s a fine line.
An honest wrestling with the influences that determine decisions is important. So much of our day-to-day is on autopilot. We renew subscriptions, we click “buy” on that item that we don’t want to run to the brick-and-mortar for.
I wonder if maybe the trip to the brick-and-mortar isn’t a good time to evaluate whether or not we need the item at all…
Impulse buying can be fun.
But so can an all night party.
When we do the second too much the family gets concerned. But what about the first?
Henri Nouwen wrote that we all have an “abyss” in our centers, something that longs to be filled. And like a vacuum, we will throw things in it attempting to fill it up…
But it can’t be filled, Beloved. At least, not with stuff.
Because that abyss is shaped like boredom. Things can’t cure that.
That abyss is shaped like grief. Things can’t cure that.
That abyss is shaped like existential angst and a lack of job satisfaction and unfulfilling relationships and…
What’s your abyss shaped like?
The incessant desire to purchase, with all its ease and immediacy and “at the tip of your fingers”-ness might just be a way of escaping, you know? The convenience of online purchasing has made things easier, for sure.
But it has also made it harder to realize when we’re just doing it to do it.
This last week I severed most ties with it for a good while. Most, not all, because, well, I could rationalize a work purchase.
I could rationalize it…but I didn’t like doing it.
And I’m kind of glad I didn’t like doing it. Perhaps that’s progress, yes?
This week I’m sloughing off processed foods. No chips, no cereals, no anything that took a process that I couldn’t do in my own home to make.
It’s actually not as easy as it sounds. Like, what do you do with certain kinds of bread that have more preservatives than grains in them? I’m deciding they’re out. It should prove interesting…
Join me, if you want.