Things we need (and don't need)
As humans we often wish for things; things we need and things we don’t really need. There is a difference between what we need and what we want of course, and usually we can tell the difference. Sometimes we may need someone to point out that we are actually wanting too much and have lost perspective of the difference. It is always good to have a friend of family member who can do that for us.
What we may want to do is to analyse what we need in out lives as per material things. Is what we want in accord with the will of God? Would it be of benefit to my family or spiritual growth? It could be that in our world of hyper-consumerism we don’t need all the things pushed at us in advertising. We are free to buy the products or not. That is our choice. Perhaps a better way to see it is can the expense be justified? For some individuals and families this may be a very serious choice to make. For others with a greater disposable income maybe not so much of a factor in the decision.
A book I used to use is called “More With Less: A World Community Cookbook” by Doris Janzen Longacre. In this book I was able to substitute foods for cooking that were either not available locally or were too expensive. It was a great help for a number of years. It may be like that in our lives today. We don’t know tomorrow and what it will bring. Our world is very uncertain in these days at the beginning of the 21st century. It may be in our best interest to save more and do with less in a simplified life.
If we can learn to distinguish between “want” and “need”, if we can learn to do with less and live within our means, then we can be better prepared for tomorrow and have a simplified, less cluttered life. In many ways we seek to do this in other areas of our lives. How many times have we used simpler ways of keeping a household, streamlining the work process at our employment? How often have we searched for more intuitive means of planning for the future through planning and organisation?
Sometimes we just need to make things last a bit longer. We live in such a disposable world that anything from pens to houses are easy to replace and little is put into making things last more than a few years rather than a life-time or two. Our society is not worried about tomorrow, it spends and builds like things will be as they are forever. But we have seen and know the past. Those who lived through the Great Depression and the Second World War know that things can change rapidly and survival depends on being frugal and prudent. Those same traits could be incorporated better into our own time. Speak with those who lived through those times and watch how they live. Nothing was wasted, no excesses as we see today. In many First Nations and Indigenous societies, the people only took from the land what was needed so that there would be food and shelter for another day.
This doesn’t mean we can’t have lovely things in our lives or have to live in restricted means when we don’t have to. But it could be a call to live a more simple lifestyle, less extravagant perhaps and thinking and planning a little further down the road than just the next paycheque.
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness” (Henry David Thoreau)