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04-23-2003, 07:19 PM #1Daniel and Alice S PetersonGuest
Keeping up with the Jones--philosophical stuff
It is so hard not to compare oneself with others.
I do it way too much, even while we're trying to teach the kids not to
What follows are a few thoughts on what happens in my head when I think
about material possessions, otherwise known as "stuff". Feel free to
delete if you're here for practical tips. I am too, but it all starts
in the head for me, I think. My actions don't change permanently unless
my thoughts change.
One thing that helps me when I'm feeling "poor" or deprived,(which I'm
is to think in terms of world standards. America is a rich country.
By world standards I'm wealthy.
I have a house,
I have clothes,
I have food,
I have TV,
I have a computer,
I have books,
I have music,
I have a car,
I have furniture,
I have choices.
Many people around the world lack most of those things. Thinking that
way transforms my ancient beatup car, my battered furniture, my
house-in-need-of numerous repairs, my limited wardrobe and sometimes
limited menu into treasures. And the books, printed music, recorded
music, piano, and computer are absolute luxuries!!
This might seem like head games, but it is really true that Americans
have so much! Of course the struggle is that we don't live in India or
some such place--we live next door to or work with or go to church with
somebody who may have more and we look at them and aren't content.
That's why i love this list--there are other people like me!!
The other thing I think about is what lasts.
I had the opportunity to speak at my father's funeral a couple of weeks
a couple of days before I read something, and thought, "That was my Dad!
That describes him exactly!"
I read it at the service, and have been thinking about it ever since.
When I thought about his life, and how little he'd acquired in terms of
but the impact his life has had on many people (starting with his kids),
I know I'm on the right track even though we don';t have what many of our
peers do.They say you can't take it with you and you can't take the
"stuff " but what Dad took with him was a healthy relationship with God
and healthy relationships with people.
Here's the quote I read:
"Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal,
but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys,
and thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
(from the Sermon on the Mount)
New Testament, Matthew 6:19-21
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