Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Quenching desire with
material gain is like seeking to extinguish
a burning fire with butter.

Lightening our load of possessions brings a lightness of spirit, even freedom.

A friend of mine left for California on an early morning this spring. He’s working there for the summer. He was supposed to have everything packed up and ready to go by
6:30 that morning. Of course, he put it off until the last minute. Of course, his
alarm clock didn’t go off. And he wasn’t able to finish his laundry. And he didn’t have room for even half the stuff he wanted to take.

I noticed something interesting as he rushed around, trying to get out the door. His priorities had changed (or finally come to light). Many of his prized possessions — television, computer, books, new clothes — had to be sacrificed because they wouldn’t fit (and the journey was of primary importance). He couldn’t afford to take anything that would hold him back.

Maybe this is how we should view our own lives in the world: as a journey. What are we spending time on — career, possessions, responsibilities, relationships — that we don’t have time for? What people, things or activities are holding us back from fully experiencing this journey to which God has called us? And of all the things that we desire, how many of them do we actually need? Are they good for us?

A Hindu master once said, “Quenching our desires with material gain is like seeking to extinguish a burning fire with butter.”

I hope to travel a different road.