It’s all in the attitude

Do you ever find yourself walking through a store, looking at all the items for sale around you, and feeling utterly sick at the thought of it all?

Walking through a Marshalls today with my aunt and cousin, on a trip my cousin had been wanting for a while for some household things, I had this experience as I walked to the bathroom, just before leaving.

I thought of my best friend, and how she had lived in The Gambia…. the way things are there…., and I thought of how things are in so many similar places, where air conditioning and mattresses and safe showering and clean water are not a given but a rarity and a practically-unachievable luxury… and I felt repulsed by the few items – some foods and soaps and a bottle cleaner for my water bottles and tea bottles – I myself had pulled out, let alone the overwhelming sense of the thousands of items surrounding me that even I found entirely unnecessary and wasteful…

And I felt terrible…

And then I looked into it further than merely being upset…

And I saw that this is the life and the part of the world and the lifestyle in which I have been placed and in which I have opted to remain… there is much I dislike about it all, and yet there is more than enough to keep me in it, wanting to be part of it… to some degree, anyway…

And it reminded me of what I would tell my students whenever they complained about school rules or homework from other teachers or the administration, that this is the school and the society in which they are choosing to participate, and so they can follow the rules and either get over it or work toward change, or they can go somewhere else to have different rules… as long as they select to be at this school, though, they are agreeing to follow this school’s rules.

And so my Marshalls visit was a lot like that for me – I want to be in this culture, and so I have to accept the ‘rules’ this culture follows… I can work toward change, as I already do, and I can work for myself to buy and to use and to produce what I feel is appropriate, as I also already do, and I can encourage and empower others to do the same, all while accepting that this is the way things currently are here, whether I like them or not.

And I totally wanted to go check the dumpster, instead of walking the inside of the store, in hopes of preventing the sad waste that likely was back there… unfortunately, circumstances did not quite allow for such a move today.

So it goes… an attitude of gratitude is a good way to start, and then we can make some real progress. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

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