A is for Abundance

New weekly musings inspired by the alphabet:

There was a moment 
during the pandemic lockdown
in the spring of 2020
that I had this sense
we were on the cusp. 

With people around the world staying home, off the streets, away from work, 
singing from their balconies and rallying behind health care workers,
realizing how much we need those who 
pour our coffees and stock grocery stores and deliver goods,
checking in on neighbours and dropping food and groceries on doorsteps – 
often without being asked to – 

it felt like we were on the cusp of realizing our potential. 
It felt like were were thisclose to stepping onto a new path – 
a path we know as the Way of Love – 
of compassion and peace, justice and mercy, hospitality and acceptance, 
of taking care of each other.

We were thisclose to understanding what THE COMMON GOOD means.

“The common good” is about what is beneficial to as many people as possible in a community. 
It’s about what we, collectively, can achieve as one human society. 
It’s the idea that we all share certain interests in common and thus we have an obligation to make sure everyone gets a fair share. 

The idea of “the common good” has never been popular with human society because so many of us balk at the idea of sharing our abundance.
We worry we will end up with less if others get more. 
Jobs & the economy and payouts to shareholders often take precedent over 
social programs that support of our most vulnerable, 
and those we need to take care of. 

The common good reminds us we’re all in this world together so we take care of each other. 
Even if it means some of us have to give up something to make life better for others, 
we do it because it is morally right. 

But when it became clear a pandemic was taking hold of the world, 
and our country, last winter, 
what was the first thing we did? 
We stocked up on toilet paper. 
To the point of HOARDING it. 

When you hoard anything – money, food, water or toilet paper – 
you end up with more than you need, perhaps even more than you’ll ever use –
which means others are going without. 

We did this because it gave us a sense of control at a time when we couldn’t control what was happening. 
It was an emotional response, and the strongest emotion being FEAR. 
So much of what we say and do that is hurtful is done when we are fearful. 

It’s a reminder of how human biology is wired for survival, 
for fight or flight, for strength over weakness. 
It’s why we need constant reminders to treat others the way we want to be treated, and that we are to love each other – 
and love means we make sure there’s enough toilet paper to go around.  

Thankfully, humans always give us hope: 
The opposite of pandemic hoarding was pandemic care packages. 

Rather than hoarding food, people shared it. 
They cooked and baked, then shared it with neighbours. 
They went grocery shopping and bought extra. 
They looked out for those who couldn’t leave their homes, 
or those without the means to have extras in their life 
at a time when they were isolated. 

In any situation, even the most dire, we are faced with the choice – 
to hoard or help. 
To share what we have or keep it to ourselves. 

What are we called to do? 

Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 
In the context of abundance, treasure is what you have enough of -- 
money, food, energy, spirit, talent, time -- 
and when you don't hoard it, when you share what you can, 
when you love your neighbours, 
that's where your heart is. 

~ Sara Jewell 


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