Friday, June 30, 2006

Its A Moral Issue For Me

For some reason, this whole concept of " stuff" will not let me rest. This morning very early, long before the sun kissed the cedar trees with golden reddish ochre hues, I finally figured it out for myself.
I think for me, and this is just me reasoning it out for myself. Not a lecture for mankind, although part of me would like to see a change in societies emphasis on material goods. Oh yes, I know about the worlds economy based on people purchasing goods, but what I am thinking about it the excess, the having 10 of the same thing in different colors etc or the bigger cars and houses.
Back to my original train of thought here, to me its a moral issue. That's it plain and simple. For me, and again this is a self lecture, its wrong to spend money on things I do not need. I love all the gifts of beautiful china I have been given from family and friends, but I am not sure I could justify owning it had I purchased it all myself.

With the exception of fabric for the wedding, I decided that I have more than enough quilting fabric to last a couple years so have not purchased any more in a month or so and will not buy more until there is a need. I will not buy from the WANT of fabric. The reason, simple. I found in myself this unreasonable need to HAVE some. Not need it, HAVE it. Not long ago I remembered seeing on TV the joy in the faces of some young girls in Africa as they received fabric for a new one after recovering from a surgery. They had prior to the new fabric, only owned one dress, . Wouldn't it be better, more morally correct to buy fabric for such a need, then to stack it on my shelf for a hobby ? Perhaps not everyone feels so called to live according to such a standard and I don't want to seem like I am judging anyone here, just myself.
One example we see daily is that America is in a crisis with health care. Millions without health insurance. People loose everything they own daily just to pay off huge medical expenses. A friend of mine is diabetic and doesn't go the doctors, no insurance, takes her husbands pills, he is old enough to be on Medicare and so gets it nearly free, he doesn't take it so she can, her need is greater they decided. She lives a middle class life, but is caught in a place where she can't afford medication or a Doctors visit or insurance. So here I sit, I could say, "oh God has blessed me with enough money for my hobbies" and justify buying just about anything that is "stuff" or a WANT, and not think about that new little clinic down the road that is to help the folks with no insurance. Wonder if $50 a month would help them out much ? You bet it would.
I could even buy testing strips for my friend to test her blood sugar. What does God call us to ? Or even if you don't believe in a God, what does care and concern for our fellow man call us to ? We are quick to care for pets in over abundance, treat them like children and dress them up and paint their toenails, all with a price. Its not necessary. It makes us feel better, not the pet. Maybe people matter more, don't you think. Couldn't we spend that money on people in need, real need. Old people eating cat food or dog food is a shame. Children who are hungry is a shame. I don't mean "is a shame" as in the half hearted saying, but as in SHAME on us for allowing it when we have more than we need.
When this money, this excessive spending could pay for a dentist visit for someone who has never had a dental check-up, or an office visit to a Doctor for someone going to first grade. So many needs. Not just the homeless folks, but the every day folks, sitting next to you in church. Elderly people shopping for food or paying their electric bills, not able to do both, they have to choose between food or warmth.
Again this is my lecture for me, you are just hearing me define this "stuff" issue to myself. Its not just clutter and how I hate to move it to dust. I discovered its a moral issue for me. An issue of compassion for others. Its an issue of sharing what I have been blessed with. Not just thanking God that I have money to buy what I like.
Not too sure Jesus or Buddha would have thought along the lines of saying, " we have been so blessed financially that we can buy what we want and just thank God for his blessings". Just can't see that being said by a humble servant. For me, it just is what it is, a moral issue of materialism.
On my other blog I wrote this the other night. I have to hash things out until its worked out fully.
I have to know what is right for me to do. I understand now and can lay to rest this subject as its crystal clear to me, that as a human being, I must live my life to help end suffering. Anything less and I have missed what I am here for.

This is what I wrote the other day on my other blog............
Tonight when thinking about what I wanted to write on this blog, I wondered how to say what I felt. All day long I thought about being content and it has weighed heavy on my mind. With a lack of words, I reached for the book, "Between Tears and Laughter". The book opened up to page 81 and the paragraph below jumped out to me. It said just exactly what I wanted to share from my heart. I do not believe it was a coincidence.

When man is constantly exposed to the things of the material world which affect him and does not control his likes and dislikes, then he is overwhelmed by the material reality and becomes dehumanized or materialistic. When man becomes dehumanized or materialistic, then the principle of Reason in nature is destroyed. From this arise rebellion, disobedience.....
From the book, "Between Tears and Laughter" by Lin Yutang


Lucy said...

I am happy that our goverment arranged a system that everybody can use a doctor or medicins...We pay all money for that. the law obliges us for that ! Only the more you earn the better insurance you can get. but everybody have a health insurance some a "simple"some a very complicated ...

I agree with overwhelming stuff!! I try to live simple too.. for example I do most by bike.. we have one car ..we don't have stuf like a coffeemaker ( we do it by hand ) dishwasher , microwafe etc,etc, Just a washing machine and dryer., I think I need that with four growing kids.. But when the weather is great I hang my washing outside! ..I try to make often desiscions what I really need or not! Living more simple gives me more satisfaction ! ( only fabric , that is a hard point for me :-) I think it is already one step forward that people think about this all !! and just make some desicions. And do not because of it is "normal"

Lucy ( oeff hard to explain in english :-)

Sandra said...

I like your ramblings - they help me to clarify my own thoughts. Ever since I was young I've lived my life "on the surface", not delving too deeply into things, scared of what I might find I guess. Now, as I'm middle aged, I find myself pondering the deeper meaning of things and what it is I should be doing here and it makes life much better to live.

I totally agree with you on the "stuff" issue. I haven't bought any fabric for almost 2 months - a record for me! It feels good and I doubt if I'll be buying any more this year unless it's borders or backings.

Oh, I forgot to tell you, my brother bought me a green Harrod's teapot on eBay! My aunty is in England at the moment and we're hoping she will be able to bring it back for me :-)

Shellie said...

Oh Patty,
Thank you so much for this post! So often we get wrapped up in our desires and wants that we forget about the needs of others. I'm just as bad as anyone else. When we moved, our house was still full of stuff that ultimately ended up in the trash. We have so much that's it's easy to forget about those that have so little.

In Islam, as in Christianity, there is a constant reminder to share the wealth that God has given you. It's up to us to act on those reminders and to help remind others. So, thank you for the reminder.

plainandsimple said...

Thank you for this post. I too have posted on the simple life but I feel yours offers a more clear explanation. If I can fifure out how to do links I'll do so to this post if that's OK.

Favorite Apron said...

I'm still loving your blog Patty, because you articulate my thoughts on subjects such as this. Do you think this is in the forefront of your mind because of the upcoming wedding? Weddings and births are often occasions of excess. My sister just got married and there were many times when I wanted to scream - "This is a committment between you and him and God. It's not about the dress/flowers/table decorations/favors/whatever!!!!!!"

Patty said...

No, I don't think this is about the wedding at all, its been a long running issue for me. I hate that people are so obsessed with THINGS and having things and buying things and going into debt for things, and what is a total horror to me is that people all over the world have a yearly income that is what many in North America spend on a ball game with all the treats.
Melanies wedding, for all 175 people attending is costing about $2,000. Weddings have been special occastions of feasting since Bibical times. But the day to day excess of peoples materialism is outrageous.
Each generation loosing more touch with what is going to really matter in the end of ones life.

Stephanie said...

Stuff! I don't need it. I don't want it. I have been giving all of my "un-necessaries" away on Freecycle. Books to the library, clothes to Good Will, and the extra yarn that I pick up at the store (because it's pretty) will be a beautiful scarf for someone who needs one. I wish more people felt the same way.

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