It seems that everywhere we look there is strife among family members, coworkers, or neighbors. Whether it be jealousy, hurtful words, constant comparisons, or simple differences of opinion, so many things can cause division. Reflecting recently on the story Abram and Lot I saw that their wealth was what caused them strife. They had so many possessions they couldn’t live together. There were quarrels … over what? Hey, your sheep are grazing on my grass! Your turkeys are squawking too loud! Your tent flap is hitting my tent flap! The sun is reflecting off your gold and hurting my eyes …!
Doesn’t it all sound so ridiculous? If we allow ourselves to fall into that trap, we can find little things to argue about all day long. We can allow conflict to eat us up, ruin our relationships and turn us into disgruntled souls. OR we can choose simplicity, positivity, and love.
Thankfully, my family has never had to worry about wealth. Since I was a kid, we were a middle-class family that watched every penny to get by. I was delivering newspapers by age 8, babysitting by age 11, and bought my own CDs, Chap Stick, and cars. Anything that wasn’t food, shelter, and clothing I purchased with my own nickels and dimes.
Now I have a family of my own, a small army of little boys, and we are living pretty close to the same blueprint. We live in the house I group up in, my sons go to the same Catholic school I did, and they are also learning hard work and responsibility. We live on one income and spend as much time outdoors as possible. Sure, they fight over toys, perhaps their version of “wealth,” but there are no video games, no tablets, and only one family TV. They wear clothing shared among their cousins and their sporting equipment comes from thrift stores and rummage sales.
I realize that perhaps we are an oddity in today’s society. We don’t ask Alexa what the weather is like each morning or even let our boys hold our phones. We drive old cars so we really don’t care if they have one more dent from a stray soccer ball. We don’t keep up on the day’s news or the latest sports headline. We just live. Food, clothing, shelter. Throw in a few dozen activities to keep the kiddos moving and we’re all set until we crash into bed at the end of each day.
Perhaps this is a bit too simplistic, but the less you have, the less there is to bicker about. The less you have, the more silence there is to just be. The less you have, the more you can reflect on all that God wants you to be. Looking at life from this perspective, we begin to see the wisdom of evangelical poverty.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” ( Matthew 7: 13-14)
May God grant us the grace to leave our quarreling and our “riches” behind in order to be one of the few that finds that narrow road that leads to life.
Copyright 2019 Tami Urcia