A Blessed Life
Capitalism requires that we consumers feel as though we never have enough. Our lives will be fuller, richer,better if only we might acquire, chew, possess that which we don’t yet have. The media reminders that constantly bombard our senses teach us that more money, more fame, more fabulousness will magically enlighten our days as friendship, love and kindness never could. Even if you’re already rich and famous and fabulous – and have been anointed as such by the imprimatur of celebrity worship magazines – you can’t help feeling you ought to be more rich, more famous, more fabulous. More. (If you don’t try to achieve these zeniths, you’re not playing the game properly.)
Given our immersion in a culture that functions most efficiently when the populace feels underfed and overmatched, it’s no wonder that many of us are susceptible to a general malaise, the kind brought on by the crushing realization that we are not – and probably will never be – Julia Roberts, Bill Gates, Ashton Kutcher, the owner of an NBA franchise, or whichever starlet is presently being packaged as the most desirable object of our voyeurism.
It’s easy to lose sight of our bountiful gifts.
We Americans generally live in a state of unrivalled comfort and ease. We enjoy freedoms (despite John Ashcroft’s best efforts) that much of the rest of the world covets. We do not want for food, shelter, clothing, potable water, relatively clean air. We may make, and remake, ourselves into whatever we fancy; no matter what class or caste we were born into, we may reinvent ourselves.
We are blessed.
Luckily for capitalism, few of us truly recognize our state of grace. We’re not suggesting that we should uniformly cast off the invisible shackles of our property and collectively become a nation of haiku writers. We do, however, suggest that something as seemingly silly as a daily affirmation, a brisk accounting of all that is good and great in our lives, might help bring our copious gifts into sharper focus. A simple, “I am thankful for. . .” A moment of reflection. A connection with our blessings.
After that, reading the morning newspaper somehow won’t seem so bad.