Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More than Enough

photo on Flikr by incurable_hippie

"The quality of our active lives depends heavily on whether we assume a world of scarcity or a world of abundance."
Parker J. Palmer The Active Life: A Spirituality of Work Creativity & Caring, 1999

I wrote a whole post yesterday - spent a long time writing it, actually - all about how I wasn't going to get what I wanted, and how grown up about it I was being.

So I hit 'publish post' and then re-read it. Mostly, it just sounded whiny. Sometimes thoughts are best left to one's journal, and yesterday's post was one of those times.

But, as with most mistakes, it did get me thinking in a more constructive vein. Surely I am the same person who posted this about working towards contentment, towards truly grasping how much I do have? How quickly we can turn towards focusing on all that we don't have, all the 'things' we want, and feel we deserve.

Weirdly, the next post in my little 'synchronicity' arc is abundance. I don't know, maybe that's synchronicity in itself. Clearly, I'm still working to wrap my head around the concept as well.


Fresh out of an experience of not getting what I want, of not having 'enough' to get what I want, it is a little tricky to hold forth on how all of us should be focusing on how much we have. I'm not feeling very....expansive, not today. But that is why today is the day.

Two weeks ago, the day I posted the brief link to Heather and The Extraordinary Ordinary, about contentment, I drove past the sign out front of our church, where they post the topic of that week's sermon. "More Than Enough." That's what it said. I knew I needed to hear this. So I went on my own, actually. Sat in the front row, and took notes like I was in English Lit 404.

The text was John 6:1-21, the story of the miracle of loaves and fishes - how Jesus fed the crowd with so little. Our minister talked about how of course you can look at this miracle as food for the body = food for the soul. But, he challenged me, what is the miracle here? Is it really just making a huge amount of food from very little?

Nope. The miracle is a changed perspective. In the course of the story, there is a conversion in the hearts of Jesus' followers: they transform from limiting what God can do (the disciples were apparently stressing about how much money it would take to feed all these folks) to seeing, and believing, there is enough for everyone. "The real miracle is a changed perspective."

I wonder if I could get that tattooed on my hand or something.

Ken Kovacs then went on to draw the parallel to the times we live in: how the whole world seems to be focused on there not being enough. If we focus on the glass half empty, we focus on conserving, because soon it will be gone. "We focus on the perceived lack, because soon there will be none." Conversely, if we are focusing on the glass half full, the assumption is fullness, sufficiency: there is something left to share.

By focusing on scarcity, on lack, by constantly worrying that we need to conserve, we are limiting the possibility of enough: we are constricting our hearts. You know the phrase "what would you do if you were not afraid?" How about asking yourself "what would you do if there was always enough?" What if you lived in a universe of abundance?

"This is the kind of miracle we can all experience." No matter what your background, your beliefs, your doubts: surely we can exercise our faith in abundance, instead of the fear of not enough.

(For those of you who are interested, Rev. Kovacs published this particular sermon on his blog Hermeneia. He's an incredible thinker. You won't be sorry you visited.)

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