They are everywhere. The multi-room units pop up squeezed between properties and on vacant lots.
They are not apartments, but storage facilities. In America, there are more than 48,000 storage facilities. Their popularity comes from a thirst for more. Two out of three American households with garages also have a storage unit.
It has become a particular problem for Baby-Boomers, those people born between 1946 and 1965. Aging parents die leaving a houseful of furniture, pictures, and momentoes. (I confess. We have a storage place for that very reason.) It’s more and more and more.
The wise man told the tale of two sisters born to a greedy man. Their names were Give and Give.
“The leech has two daughters: Give and Give. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, “Enough”: Sheol, the barren womb, the land never satisfied with water, and the fire that never says, “Enough.”” (Proverbs 30:15–16)
The word that escapes their vocabulary is “enough.”
When is enough, enough?
The real problem is not “enough” but “too much.”
We have too much entertainment that brings less joy. When I grew up, four grainy stations came in through a rooftop antenna. Then, we got cable with dozens of channels. Then, it was streaming with a dozen services to meet every desire. Now there’s a lot to watch but nothing worth watching. Is more the answer?
We have too much coarseness. Four-letter words strangled civil language. Authors today think that if they use the “mother of dirty words” in their title, their books are better. They sell, but most are not worth reading or rehash old ideas.
We have too much fear. The media fearmongers (and that pretty much covers all) dishes out a daily dose of WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE scenarios. The latest COVID-19 virus is the latest opportunity to frighten. Do we need any of that?
We have too much information. If you have enough money or don’t mind mortgaging your future, you go to school well into your 30’s before you know enough. Then, you may only flip burgers. The internet proliferates with some real things but a plethora of pseudo-smarts. We are drowning in knowledge without tools to decide what is useful.
Is more the answer? Or do we have more than enough of what we don’t need?
Bulging storage buildings, degree-papered walls, and smutty entertainment prove we have more than enough. What we don’t have is what we need.
We need more compassion. Fifteen years after his death, Fred Rogers has captured our imaginations again. Why? Because he epitomized compassion. We want to be gentle, hear people speak to the person, not the camera. In a world of judgment and prejudice, we need to open our hearts rather than our mouths. Can you put more compassion in your life?
We need more wisdom. Wisdom is not the same as “educated.” Many smart people cannot figure out what to do next. We need context and experience that the concept of “elder” brings to our society. Older people need to learn, and younger people need to listen. Wisdom to live right is better than smarts to live easier.
We need more patience. More time doesn’t help us. The president has the same 168 hours as the janitor. Life is not stuffing more into minutes, but using the time of life for something eternal. That means slowing down, not striving so much, and enjoying the life God has given. Take something off of your list that is not worth doing. Then, slow down.
We need more good than bad. You cannot escape the bad news. It peppers social media, comes out of the breathless voices of news anchors, and consumes the gossip of our lives. Is nothing good happening in your life? What about a child that learns to walk? Or people who help others? Or a good cup of coffee or good music.? Turn off the bad (as much as you can) and let the noble seep in. You might change your soul.
The truth is simple. We live full lives not by getting what we want but by having what we need.
That is the true definition of “enough.”
When my mother was in the final stages of her life, there was a woman in the care center. I am sure had some touch of dementia. She sat at the entrance and yelled “howdy” at everyone that came in. She became known as Howdy. What this woman did was simple. She said more good and no bad.
We need more Howdy’s!