Much Too Much
We are consumers. We are trained to consume from the day we see the McDonald’s commercials and beg for Happy Meals. We see the endless advertising telling us how much happier we can be if we only buy the faster car, the bigger house, the latest IPod, the Blu-Ray, the big screen TV.
Our economy is based on people consuming. It is the engine that drives the world, and without consumers, there might not be things to consume. It does make a kind of sense, and no one wants to return to the middle ages. But just when do we reach the point where we finally have too much?
I trumpet the abundance we live in at every chance I get, and try to offer my thanks for the wonderful circumstances I find myself in. I celebrate the present day technology and advances, eager to see what tomorrow brings. But I hope somewhere in the equation we decide who we are. We aren’t our car, our house, our job, our position in life. If we think that is who we are, then we miss out on what is happening right now in our lives by planning ways to keep our possessions and titles.
Some may say I live a charmed life, and I would agree with them. But you also lead a charmed life, simply existing in a world where cholera has been largely eliminated because we chlorinate our water. You and I live in a world where probably no one we know has tuberculosis, has ever had scarlet fever, the plague, measles, mumps and a host of other diseases common just 50 years ago. Our highway engineers design safer roads and cars, and though the newscasters would like us to believe otherwise, we live in less crime, poverty, and abuse. Does it mean these things don’t happen? No, but it’s like someone once said – The world isn’t getting worse, it’s just that the news reporting is so much better.
Can wringing our hands and decrying the remaining problems in our world make this world a better place? Or does our focus on the negative emphasize and empower it? I want to be one of the positive forces in the world, working for a better attitude about what we really have today, and the abundance which awaits us tomorrow.
It is reflected in the things I do each day. I teach high school students that education can make a difference in their futures, encouraging them to get as much education as possible, sacrificing what seems like the opportunity work at McDonald’s today for the chance at better jobs tomorrow. It happens with a high school degree. I also teach college students, who often wonder if the sacrifices they make in money today to endure the poverty of a college life will be worth it tomorrow. They know of the promise of more education and endure the challenges of endless classes, lectures and stultifying boredom to be able to provide a better future for themselves and their future families.
I work each week promoting religious activity in my church callings, urging people to see the benefit of living correct principles today, which gain us happier days now and the promise of a better life after this life. I’ve been given other talents I try to use to entertain people, helping them make it through one more day, or to help them see the absurdity, the adversity, the abundance, the diversity and the beauty of this incredible blue planet.
The world is overwhelming, and we can either celebrate the good, or commiserate about the bad. I’m not asking you to ignore the problems, but use an attitude of the possible to defeat the negativism which surrounds us. Can we be happy in an unhappy world?
I contend there is nothing else we can do. When you see the stranger on the street, are they met with a grimace or a grin? Are you pleasant to the cashier about being there to serve you for a wage you probably wouldn’t work for, or do you vent your frustration about prices on the person least able to do anything about it? Are you crowding out others in traffic so you can hurry off to your next appointment, or are you waving for someone to pull in front of you?
It really all does come down to attitude. People choose the kind of day they will have. Even in the midst of the worst of circumstances, we are allowed to choose. We choose each and every second how we will use our life, and at the end of 31 million seconds, another year has passed. When we get to this moment next year, will it be enough?
Welcome to your next 31 million seconds. Spend them well.
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Much Too Much