Another cold and cloudy day. I stayed up too long after work last night and didn’t sleep well. As I was walking the dog at Paradise Spring after lunch, I was thinking about stuff. Literally, all the stuff I own. I own too much stuff. I need to be intentional over the next year about what I’m keeping, what I’m giving away, and what I’m getting rid of. It isn’t about selling stuff to make money, rather the whole principle of what it means live a good life. I was really into the happiness thing for a while, consuming more than my fair share of pop-psych books and academic writings on happiness and positive psychology. Everyone wants to be happy, right? Roses and rainbows, all the time.
Life isn’t like that. I think what people are looking for is meaning, not happiness. Today’s answers are shallow and they all feed into the economy. We derive meaning from our careers. We’re told that money and stuff will satisfy our needs. But beyond subsistence, our needs can’t be met by stuff. Stuff gets in the way of existential meaning and real happiness. The ancient Greek philosophers said that it is unnatural and soul-damaging for a person to have more possessions than he needs. Jesus went even further, and the Church, when certain of her members aren’t watering the message down, reinforces His message.
Earthly attachments take our focus off of spiritual things. Not just some far-off heaven, but here. Today. Right now. The love of wealth and of ownership numbs us against God’s presence.