Like pretty much everyone else I have been hearing a lot about the rising cost of living these days. I have three kids, I know what it costs to feed them and entertain them and keep them healthy. As we accumulate materials and experiences I cannot help but wonder if we ever get to the point where we have enough. You know what I mean? Like when do we look at all our stuff and all our opportunities and say we have enough? Our house is full enough our schedules are heavy enough? I know some people, even in Canada, seriously don’t have enough, but the conversations I am hearing are different, they are about our ability to endlessly pursue and receive more. We resent spending money on needs (these being very loosely defined these days to include iPhones and such) because it cuts into our funds for desires.
That has got me thinking about more than enough, about opulence, because that is clearly a subjective word and how we perceive it is based on our circumstances. Maybe if we had a better understanding of opulence we could each come closer to terms with the word “enough” in our own lives.
What do you consider opulent?
Here is a list of things in my life that when I look around the planet I have to admit I consider opulent:
Not worrying about sale prices when I buy food
Having free time for myself or with family or friends
Having entertainment available pretty much all the time
My fancy bike
Having multiple phones in my house
Not collecting/chopping anything to heat my house
Having a variety of clothing and footwear to chose from
Having more than one table I can eat at
Strangely most of us have these and many other things but we do not feel like we have enough.
Still, we find some basic needs going unmet, in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Sometimes these are material like the lack of food, housing, medicine etc. that many endure around the world. Or like the modest but soul-satisfying practices we all need but struggle to find time for.
Where does time for prayer, bible reading, journalling, slowly drinking tea with a friend fit?
Where does having time to make soup for a sick friend fit?
Where does having time to exercise fit?
Are these really luxuries and signs of opulence? I don’t think so.
More and more people argue they do not have time to exercise, to cook for themselves (let alone others) and other such elements of what we might think of as basic. Does that mean those practices are opulent like getting nails done at a salon?
When did such parts of life become opulent?
As we all watch the stocks lower and the interest rates rise and the food bill grow faster than carrots in perfect soil, I suggest it is a good time to reflect on the meaning of words like, luxury, opulence, and enough.