I have been mulling the word ‘enough’. I live in a world where there is always more of everything. I go to IKEA and frenzy hits me. I have to buy. I feel a little the same when I shop in Lidl. A great value shop but I always find myself looking at all the other bargains they sell that I didn’t know I needed. Having just moved home and acquired a garden with grass and trees and shrubs and stuff the garden equipment has been irresistible. Again, really well designed tools, cheap and effective. We are now set up to tackle anything our new garden could throw at us.
But when will I have enough? What does it mean? How much is enough?
Just a little bit more replied John Rockefeller the first American billionaire and the world’s richest man.
Ask Gordon Gekko of Wall Street film fame how much is enough? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDD1tW59Mjg
The word can be translated; sufficient, adequate, ample, abundant, as much as necessary. However, what is ‘necessary’ has moveable boundaries.
There is an artist called Michael Landy notorious as “That bloke who destroyed all his belongings”. In his 2001 artwork Break Down he publicly and systematically shredded, dismantled and demolished everything he owned https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hYUnkW4sNA For an article of what Landy did read http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20160713-michael-landy-the-man-who-destroyed-all-his-belongings
The only thing to survive Landy’s destruction was the catalogue of numbers detailing a possession. He included everything he owned – his car, his dad’s sheepskin coat, matchboxes, toilet roll, plastic bags, love letter, expensive painting given by a friend.
How would I feel if I destroyed all my stuff? The letters, the photographs, the mementos of a life. My marriage, my children growing up, their first baby clothes, my own clothes. The stuff that records me living on this earth gone except for the clothes I stand up in. I tell you now, I couldn’t do it.
Do I own my things or do my things own me? Do my things give me my value?
Why do I have all these things? Do they express me? Do they tell other people who I am? Do I want to be perceived as a certain type of person?
Is my aim to acquire until I am satisfied? Satisfied with what? How? What does that mean? Until I am happy? But ‘happy’ is transient. If that were my goal I will always want more.
Perhaps a better question is what do I need to thrive? I need food, water, shelter and basic clothing to survive but thriving is beyond survival, beyond comfort. Thriving is I think, about love. I thrive when I love and am loved. Thriving, for me is about both immanent (my personal, skin on their face relationships around me) and transcendent relationship (the God I love and follow). These give me perspective and help me to separate the ‘stuff’ from true and lasting beauty.