The Price of Entitlement

Stuff.  I have a confession to make.  Until today, I have always been pretty self-righteous about my detachment to stuff.  I am an inherent bohemian- a hippy if you will.  Except for my laptop, material things have always felt trivial, a peripheral part of my life.  Today I saw a picture on Reuters of an impoverished man watching the home that he has worked so hard to build burn up in flames.  The devastation on this man’s face, I can’t get it out of my mind.  It occurred to me.  The possessions that this man is crying over has so much more meaning than the possessions that I own carelessly.  The story is not always on the surface.  This story is in the emotions invested into every slight thing that he witnesses being perished.  Comfort for his family, pride for his integrity, purpose for his inspiration.  The deeper, existential part of earning these things is what this man wept over, not the material things themselves.  For this one, tragic moment, the years spent, the tears wept, the weariness felt, seemed to disintegrate with the prizes that these profound qualities of life reap.  Has he given his soul for nothing?  On a deeper level, I want to say “of course not”  but it’s arrogant and easy for me to lay these claims as I sit at my dining room table with my feet up.  His life is a life that I lack the capacity to even imagine, being the entitled American that I am.  Just trying to imagine how it must feel to not only lose all of your possessions, but to bury the deep, soulful experience that accompanies putting every ounce of your being into something.  I pity that man.  I also envy him for having the courage to not merely perform a task, but to live completely for something.  I consider myself fortunate, and at the same time deprived of the opportunity to put all of my spirit into something, even if it means facing the risk of losing it all in one burning flame.

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