Katie Covey, the curator for Soul Matters, talks about this month’s theme of “abundance” using a line from the Wendell Berry poem, “Wild Geese”: “what we need is here.” As the season of buy, buy, buy edges out taking stock of the abundance we already have, let us return to Berry’s words. For most of us reading this, what we need is already here and then some.
As I reflected on the folks hit by hurricanes and storms this fall, I wondered, “What would I grab in the five minutes’ notice that I absolutely could not part with?” My answer was really pretty simple: Lori and Oso. Maybe the bag with some legal papers in them. A photo album of my family of origin? I am surrounded by things in my home – an overabundance of things. But when it comes down to it, none of it defines me or my life. None of it reflects the abundance I have in relationships and love.
As we all embark on this season of buy, buy, buy, let us ask ourselves the following questions suggested by the Seattle Buy Nothing Group before we make our purchases. You can substitute “they” for “I.”
“Do I need it?
How many do I already have?
How much will I use it?
How long will it last?
Could I borrow it from a friend or family member?
Can I do without it?
Am I able to clean, lubricate and/or maintain it myself? Am I willing to?
Will I be able to repair it?
Have I researched it to get the best quality for the best price?
How will I dispose of it when I’m done using it?
Are the resources that went into it renewable or non-renewable?
Is it made of recycled materials, and is it recyclable?
Is there anything that I already own that I could substitute for it?”
Better yet, look around at the abundance you already have and get creative. What can be re-purposed? Passed along, handed over, up or down?
A blog about buying nothing listed these options:
The reality is that most of us will buy something for someone this time of year. But I would encourage us all to try and take into account the questions from the Seattle Buy Nothing Group before buying something. And not just in this season but in every season of our lives.
As for abundance? Well, I don’t think it can be quantified. Not the abundance that matters: meaning, relationships, community, connection.
Let this be a season of abundance and a reckoning that “everything we need is here.”
Peace, Shalom, Salaam,