To be honest, I find it difficult to look around and see people living in excess and seemingly happy, when some of us have asked for very little and somehow suffer for it. Everywhere I look, I am faced with the disgusting truth of what we call capitalism. Very few who are honest and hard-working will forgo the bloodsucking consequences of The American Dream. Most will continue to struggle paycheck to paycheck – praying on bloodied knees that nothing happens to stop the flow of finance. The money desperately needed to survive.
The truth is, my envy (yes, let’s call it what it is), is not for what people “have.” Things mean nothing to me. Truly. I’m anxious for the chance to pick up and unplug. If my life were different; if I had no ties, I would walk away from it all. But this was the life I chose and the life I’ve in turn been given. I find myself sinking into moments of sadness. Because my envy is not for things, but for the peace of mind that cash-flow allows. The knowing and deep understanding, that your bills will be paid without fail. You will no longer debate the importance of food versus medical expenses. Utilities. Mortgage. Insurance. Priorities. Obligations. Too much and not enough – month after month. Year after year.
This is my American Dream. No, not the one I imagined, but the one I live. My version had an unmistakable view of farmland in Ohio. With a stunning white, paneled, two-story farmhouse, trimmed with a wraparound porch. Mine had visions of a long and winding road, running fluid with the creek. Patiently traversing to the end near a giant crimson barn. Air enveloping me in the scent of hard work and new beginnings. The barn filled to overflowing with progress and sunshine. I saw my family, running free. Skipping through the beauty and peace of home. Reaching out to sit together on a swing my husband made by hand. Telling stories, laughing, and simply loving one another.
Embracing all that life has to offer. Not the bells and whistles or the glitz and glamour. My dreams never involved the struggle of the chase. The never-ending and unfruitful need to compete and compare. No! My dreams involved a life of quiet and solitude awash with moments of joy and laughter. A life where our wounded souls could be at rest. Focused on gifts and treasures. Love and servitude. Embracing and accepting one another; without judgment or shame. Allowing for grace.
My dream looked much different. Most of our’s did.
“Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the LORD always.” Proverbs 23:17
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.” 1 Corinthians 13:4
Photo by Timothy Eberly