Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The United State of More

Several years ago I began a journey (although I truly recognize this journey has been going on my whole life). While I have not arrived at the end of the journey, I continue to find myself further and further from what I once called home and more and more a foreigner where I live.

One evening, a young lady in a mall kiosk who was not from the United States was very reluctant to allow me to leave her kiosk without purchasing the item which peaked my interest. It was an item for my wife and the cost was significant I wanted to check with my wife before making the purchase.

"You're afraid I won't come back, aren't you?" A question to which she reluctantly responded "Yes". I knew something was up because she kept "sweetening" the deal. Then after she'd sweetened it all she could, she made it where I had to buy right then and the offer was not good if I walked away and came back. I told her I was not buying without consulting my wife. I asked her why she was so insistent that I buy right at that moment. She then sheepishly explained to me that in the mall were hundreds of people with money in their pockets to spend. She explained that Americans walked into the door of the mall with an amount in mind they would spend and that she "knew" if I left I would likely spend the money in my pocket before getting back to her. I assured her I would return after I found and consulted my wife. She skeptically nodded as I walked away.

My wife was less than a hundred yards down the mall walking toward me. We set out to return to the kiosk as I told her of both the product and the young lady selling it. When we arrived back at the kiosk the look on the young ladies face was one of true astonishment. I'm sure my face must have had some puzzle written on it as well as I was already contemplating the the sad state of our culture that we were both so predictable and so "spend" oriented. We talked briefly about the fact that I actually returned. She indicated I was the first in her months of working at the kiosk. During that conversation I learned she was a student from a foreign country who came to America during the Christmas season because there was so much money to make. That night I bought the one item I originally stopped to explore, but none of the extras she was so tenacious to expand the offer with. That night was a monumental lesson on my journey.

Since that night, the veil has been lifted and I began to truly see the greed and lust for more which consumes not only America but mankind in general. Father used a simple conversation with this young lady to help me see the sad state of more "we" humans were living in. Now that the veil has been lifted I see it more and more and more (perhaps the opposite state of more?) in advertisements on TV, in pitches I hear in stores, from the mouths of "Christians" who are obsessed with how much more they can give to their church if they excel in their economic efforts. More, more, more. One car is not enough for a family of two because you cannot both have significant careers to climb up that financial ladder to get and acquire more. Two bedrooms is not enough, you have to have a bigger and more expensive house (even sometimes so you can do more for God with it). More savings. More insurance to protect what you have. It's a vicious cycle and one that has drug those of us living in America into the United State of More.

I've left that country. Oh, I still have to struggle with it. But it becomes easier and easier each step I take away from where I used to live. I have less money and fewer things but I have found I need and want less. With less focus on getting and "protecting" stuff I found it has made room for me to think more about Father. My gaze has turned from more of stuff to more of Father and him having more of me. I have left the United State of More.