I’m at home now, as opposed to being four hours away attending college in another state. I’ve been in my house about 28 hours now. So far, I’ve managed to walk in on my brother and his girlfriend making out, break my grandmother’s antique bowl that she gifted me with over the summer, and be dubbed “little bitch” by my younger sister. I found myself putting away laundry and bemoaning the fact that they are all impossibly spoiled. My siblings, I mean. I know I have to be spoiled in some ways too, I cannot be perfect, it’s impossible. And since I’m not sure how I’m spoiled, I’m sure that my younger siblings don’t know how they are spoiled either.
There is a sweet little gem of a book which has been pushed into the depressing category of Classic Movie. Someone way back in the early 20th century decided to take this beautiful story and turn it into a beautiful screenplay. I’m not denying that the movie is great, but as in most cases, the book is infinitely better. “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” is the story of Francie and Neely Nolan, poor children growing up between 1902 and 1919. Their mother, Mary, is one of the most powerful women I’ve ever encountered in literature. This is a family barely surviving, yet Mary wants to teach her children wealth. Each day, the children get three cups of black coffee to do whatever they wish with. Francie would usually pour hers down the drain. How poignant. To learn of wealth through waste. To feel rich through loss. C.S. Lewis was right when he said Joy comes in the remembering and the yearning. There is truth in yin and yang. Without loss there is no appreciation. Without pain, there is no understanding of pleasure. And without sacrifice, you will probably never learn what love is like.
In America, we’re spoiled. There is no doubt about it. We are a wealthy country. And much of it is efficiently accounted for. We have our time slotted out in dayplanners. We can access our bank accounts through credit cards and the internet in a millisecond. Not a single second of silver sand in our hourglasses is to be wasted. Time is money.
I feel wealthy. I waste time. I’ve discovered it’s beneficial to waste time on purpose. Meditation has become a buzzword in the past few years among Christian communities. Almost taboo, unless you follow it with the term “on the Word.” But being still is a precious thing. I’m trying to make a point to waste a little time everyday. And by wasting time, I don’t mean playing Nintendo, or blogging, or surfing the internet, or chatting online, or sleeping…that’s not truly wasting time. I mean holding a cup of steaming coffee or hot cocoa and watching the sunset. I mean driving around for 1/2 an hour with no real destination and the radio off. I mean…reviewing…evaluating…thinking…wallowing gloriously and marinating in the moment. Yes, the amount of time we have is limited. And yes, there are requirements for us to fulfill while we’re here on earth. I’m not discounting in any way the commands God gives us, or saying that our lives are our own…but…you are incredibly wealthy. Look upon the gift of today. Be spoiled. Be still.