If you were alive during the Cold War, you heard tales of deprivation in the former Soviet Union. People waited in lines for hours in the hope of getting a loaf of bread and other basic necessities.
When your turn finally came, and you could enter the store, you did not stand before an array of goods at your fingertips. There was one type of toothpaste, one type of soup, one type of bread, and one type of soap-if any of these were available at all.
We are unduly blessed to live in such an abundant nature. Think about the extensive variety of goods available when you stroll down the aisles of your local super market. They’re staggering.
Fifteen types of deodorant vie for your attention. Twenty-three types of hand soap want you to take them home and suds them up. More varieties of beef, chicken, pork, sausages, veggies, bread … and on and on … call to us: “Choose me!”
OK, I’d rather live in a land of abundance than a land of poverty. No doubt. But I do wonder sometimes, what this (over?) Abundance does to us.
Have you ever walked away, having selected a household item, like soap, only to have nagging feeling that you may not have chosen the “best” one? Have you ever found yourself staring at shelves of a particular item, reading labels carefully, wondering which one is really the one you should take off the shelf?
Have you ever felt a lack of gratitude for your life, even though you live in a land of plenty and you’ve never missed a meal against your will or because there was not enough food to go around? Even though you can choose for 48 room fresheners? Even though you can wear any one of the 33 shirts and slacks in your closet-but still you feel that you do not have anything to wear?
Perhaps, too many choices breed ingratitude and dissatisfaction. Some people spend more time working over color swatches for the bathroom wall paint than they do over their emotional or spiritual heath.
We fuss over type of granite to have our kitchen counters in-even though they’re just counters, after all. And what difference does it make?
I wonder if having too many choices leads us to give insignificant things (like deodorant choice and color swatches) too much attention. And I wonder if the time we spend on splitting hairs between almost identical products is actually depressing our minds and spirits? Just wondering.