Tending Your Soul
Cut the coupons! Come early! Doors open at 7 a.m.! Everything 50-70 percent reduced! Swept away by the enticing advertising gimmicks, I headed out the door equipped with a supply of cash and the ever handy credit card. Pleasantly surprised by the available parking spaces in the lot, I pulled into one not far from the door. The checkout personnel smiled and greeted me as I entered the store. Unfortunately, a warm welcome almost anywhere just about melts my heart. With some eagerness and determination in my steps, I walked toward the promised bargains. Racks and stacks of clothing occupied most of the available floor space. Although my list included only a multicolored top and a pair of summer capri pants, when the discounted pants suits and jumpers caught my attention, off I went.
During the next hour, I went and went … went to the racks of tops, went to the slacks and bathing suits, went to the housewares, purses and bedroom slippers. Eventually I began feeling slightly assaulted by poking and bumping shoulders and elbows, repeated apologies (or not) murmured as bodies squeezed between me, voluminous displayed goods and other shoppers. Other shoppers draped with armfuls of items seemed to handle the situation well, but in the midst of this glorious abundance of goods, claustrophobic feelings overwhelmed me. Too many choices, too many decisions about colors, sizes, prices, coordination with existing wardrobe items and actual need left me frazzled and exhausted. I could hardly wait to leave. My arms were empty, so a quick exit was simple.
God, I actually felt depressed on leaving that store. I felt numbed and overwhelmed by so much stuff. How much is enough? How much is more than I can ever enjoy or really use? What interior emptiness is crying out to be filled? Help me hear the message you have for me in this experience.
What image, feeling, question or memory of yours surfaces as you read this story?
Does the phrase “live simply so that others may simply live” touch your heart? Influence your consumer decisions?