Like unmatched socks. Small toys with sharp edges that get stepped on in the dark. Dirty dishes. Dust bunnies and their minions.
More begets more.
Yep, this is going to be a Christmas post. In October. Forgive me, but since the stores are beginning to look a lot like Christmas, I can’t help it.
Shortly after opening their presents on December 25, 2010, my children started on their Christmas list for 2011. They wanted more. Am I wearing rose colored glasses in thinking that on Christmas when I was a kid, I actually played with what I got instead of whining for more? I remember the year that My Little Pony toys came out, and all I wanted for Christmas was a My Little Pony. That is what I got. One My Little Pony. She was glorious! Bright yellow body and silky peachy-orange hair. I still can see her sweet little face now. Even before that, Strawberry Shortcake was all the rage. That Christmas, I got two Strawberry Shortcake toys–Strawberry herself and her friend Huckleberry Pie! I played with these toys for hours on end. I didn’t whine that my friend Lori had the whole Strawberry Shortcake universe–I just felt privileged when she would invite me over to play with them. I think it is safe to say that we were pretty poor in those days. But I can honestly say, I didn’t know it. I loved those gifts.
One year, I wanted Electronic Talking Battleship. Oh, I wanted it soooo bad! For a game, it was ridiculously expensive. I didn’t get it. A seed of bitterness was planted in a pot of greed in my heart.
When I was in Jr. High, our family was doing a little better. One Christmas, I received an entire outfit from The Limited. The Limited! Oh the JOY! It consisted of a black-and-white houndstooth skirt, an awesome red blouse, and a cute red corduroy beret. Remember those little ballet slipper shoes with the bows from Libby & Co? Yep, I got those too. And what did I do after receiving this most excellent gift? Pouted because I didn’t get a Coca-Cola shirt. Everyone who was anyone got a Coca-Cola shirt that year. And a bubble watch from Benetton. I didn’t get either. So I pouted and coveted. The next year, I still didn’t get a Coca-Cola shirt. I got a Pepsi shirt in a cute Pepsi-bottle shaped container that doubled as a bank. I can’t remember ever wearing it. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a Pepsi shirt when everyone who was anyone was wearing a Coca-Cola shirt. The more I got, the more I wanted.
Fast forward to me as a new Mom. Somewhere, sometime, I decided in my heart that my children were going to have everything. It started with Little People sets. Gosh, those little toys were just sooooo cute! I bought every set that came out. My kids loved and played with just one of these sets–a Nativity scene. Just one. All of the others were neglected or scattered over a five county radius. Then my sister gave me a set of Geotrax, and I started my kids’ collection of those. More Geotrax than any human child could possibly play with in a lifetime. I would spend hours building stellar tracks with twists and hills, all to be extremely put out then the kids played with them and changed or wrecked them. (This should have been my first hint…who were these toys for?) Then came American Girl dolls. Littlest Pet Shop. Barbie. Disney Princesses. Matchbox cars and tracks. Video games. My kids caught on to my need for more. They wanted more. They got more, and then they pouted because they didn’t get more of it.
Then it was birthday parties with goodie bags. Cute little shows on Nick Jr. with their clever ads of cute new toys and sets and accessories. More. And More. And MORE. Wanting MORE multiplies. It multiplies covetousness. Greed. Unhappiness. A sense of loss and longing. Over STUFF!
How do we jump off of this greed train instead of adding cars to it? I know I am still firmly on-board, but at every stop, at every station, I have begun to see what wanting more is doing to me, to my kids. I want off.
I think the answer to greed is giving.
As Mr. Bigweld says, “See a need, fill a need.” I think giving has something to do with food.
My sister is a glorious giver of soup. She sees a need and fills it with wonderful homemade soup. My parents feed the hungry and homeless every Monday. Another sister bakes the most amazing cakes and cookies to share with everyone. Tiana’s Daddy said it well, “You know the thing about good food? It brings folks together from all walks of life. It warms them right up and it puts little smiles on their faces.”
I think it is next to impossible to be cooking for someone else and covetous at the same time.
I look around and see what I really have. Love. Children. A home. Warm clothes. Good food. More stuff than I need. I look outside of my own circle and see the needs of others. Time to step off the greed train and give. With prayer and hope, maybe my children will follow this example. Love, which is the product of giving from the heart, multiplies and satisfies in a way that stuff never, ever can.