This 9” x 12” Acrylic is one of three completed last month as a quick study based on a lesson by R. Bradford Johnson in the Walter Foster Artist’s Library Series Acrylics. I like the colors and simplicity of the composition. The other two are barns.
I chose this one for today’s Thought—Enoughness. It speaks to me of simpler times when a pail was an indispensable tool serving a multitude of functions for the family. Even one pail was ‘enough’ to complete many tasks!
Someone once ask: “How do you boil a frog?” Not sure I ever wanted to, but o.k. ‘How do you boil a frog?’ “Don’t put the frog into boiling water…he will immediately jump out. Put the frog into cold water, slowly turn up the heat. He won’t notice what’s happening until it’s too late.” I was reminded of this story when relating ‘Enoughness’ or ‘Simplicity’ to our modern American culture. Here is the perspective of two people on this topic–Richard Rohr and Richard R. Foster.
“Most of us have grown up with a capitalist worldview which makes a virtue and goal out of accumulation, consumption, and collecting. It has taught us to assume, quite falsely, that more is better. But it’s hard for us to recognize this unsustainable and unhappy trap because it’s the only game in town. When parents perform multiple duties all day and into the night, it is the story line that their children surely absorb. “I produce therefore I am” and “I consume therefore I am” might be today’s answers to Descartes’ “I think therefore I am.” These identities are all terribly mistaken, but we can’t discover the truth until we remove the clutter.
“The course we are on assures us of a predictable future of strained individualism, environmental destruction, severe competition as resources dwindle for a growing population, and perpetual war. Our culture ingrains in us the belief that there isn’t enough to go around, which determines most of our politics and spending.”
“Simplicity is freedom. Duplicity is bondage. Simplicity brings joy and balance. Duplicity brings anxiety and fear…The Christian [follower of Jesus] Discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward lifestyle…To attempt to arrange an outward lifestyle of simplicity without the inward reality leads to deadly legalism…We cease from showy extravagance not on the grounds of being unable to afford it, but on the grounds of principle. Our goods become available to others…Contemporary culture lacks both the inward reality and the outward lifestyle of simplicity… Because we lack a divine Center our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things…The mass media have convinced us that to be out of step with fashion is to be out of step with reality. It is time we awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick…Covetousness we call ambition. Hording we call prudence. Greed we call industry.”
Following the lead of Peter (1 Peter 3:3) Foster suggests ten controlling principles for the outward expression of simplicity. They should never be viewed as laws but as only one attempt to flush out the meaning of simplicity or Enoughness for today.
First: Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.
Second: Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
Third: Develop a habit of giving things away. De-accumulate.
Fourth: Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
Fifth: Learn to enjoy things without owning them.
Sixth: Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation.
Seventh: Look with a healthy skepticism at all “buy now, pay later” schemes.
Eighth: Obey Jesus’ instruction about plain, honest speech (Matthew 5:37).
Ninth: Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others.
Tenth: Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God.
Check the thermometer! How hot has the cultural water become in which I’ve been immersed for decades? What action can I take? Attempt to Jump out? How is that going to be light to others also suffering. Where’s the love in jumping ship and forgetting about everyone else? I must love fellow citizens yet unaware. How? With a cup of cold water (example), or two… or three! I believe this helps turn down the cultural heat for everyone. ‘New Normal’ = Enoughness!
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40
 Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, Embracing Enoughness, Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Celebration of Discipline, The Path to Spiritual Growth, by Richard J. Foster, Chapter 6