Whenever you talk to little kids, they feel everything very deeply. This is the best thing ever, until its the worst thing ever, and everything is perfect until its not. The phrase “I need” comes up a lot as well.
“I need to get out of bed!”
“I need this new toy!”
“I need that cookie!”
We spend so much time trying to break our children of that habit, to teach them the different between need and want, to accurately describe a need as a need, and not ascribe need to something that is a want.
And then it all falls to pieces when you grow up.
“Oh I can’t throw that old thing of cloth out, I need it for this project I’ve been meaning to do forever.”
“I can’t stop working even though its not what I need to do, because it supports other needs”
My favorite part of scripture, the one that echos through my mind more often than not, the one that I come back to, is the Sermon on the Mount. Specifically:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.
Apologies for how long that is (Its Matthew 6:25-34 if you’re looking). But just look at that. Every line. EVERY LINE. Its an indictment of the day to day, the lack of faith that drives us to continue to stockpile goods and food and money to preserve our lives as we like them. And then we stress over it. “Have you ever added even a day to your life by worrying?” Well no, no I haven’t. In all likelihood I have forfeited days by worrying. And yet its like a compulsion.
I continue to edit and edit and edit and even as I do I realize that I don’t have ever a fraction of the faith of someone who is poor and who keeps going on the strength of their faith. And if I lost my job tomorrow, if an expensive crisis hit, would I stand? Would I trust? Or would I crumble. And this is where the detachment from items is so good to cultivate, because I need the answer to be yes.