A People of Abundance?
When it comes to abundance, our culture and our religion are clearly at odds. Our culture cries, "Accumulate!" Our religion counsels "Appreciate!" The mantras couldn't be more different: The commercials tell us to "Go out and get what you want!" The pulpits plea with us to "learn to want what you have."
So, yes, appreciation is central to this month. Noticing the abundance around us is clearly the work we are called to do. But one wonders if that's enough. It all depends on what you do after the noticing is done.
Sometimes there's a passivity to appreciation that leaves nothing changed. There's a big difference between appreciating the blessing of family and committing to sitting down together for dinner at least three or four times a week. It's one thing to notice the beauty that fills your own backyard; it's quite another to pull yourself out of the rat race so you have time to enjoy it. It helps to have a sermon remind us that our spouse or parent is doing the best they can, but that insight rarely sticks without a commitment to action that helps us truly let go of all the things we wish they were and embrace the limited but wonderful abundance of what they are.
In short, appreciation only gets us part of the way there. Noticing places abundance in view, but only new commitments put it within reach. Without a decision to change our lives, noticing becomes nothing more than nostalgia.
So, what needs to change? Maybe that's the real question this month. What needs altered so you can dance with what is plentiful rather than worrying about what is scarce? What clutter finally needs cleaned up so there is room for new abundance to enter in? What changes will free you from the urgent and allow in the important?
Yes, people of abundance make time for noticing, but they also make tough choices. Choices that, after they are made, don't really feel tough at all.
Spiritual abundance is waiting for us friends. May this be the month we choose it.