Today I find myself writing before the Halloween celebration in US with the forthcoming Thanksgiving celebration and 54 days away from Christmas. I cannot help but think that I am writing from the land of discontentment. We give thanks between two totally different celebrations and we are thankful for nothing.
This is the land where you are constantly invited to pursue more. The American Dream, the same as the Alliance for Progress, is continuous propaganda to acquire more. It does not matter if you use most of your life trying to reach one more goal (usually associated with getting more); the important thing is to spend like hamsters do, always running without ever asking where you are going.
This is the land of fast food, instant coffee, and nowadays you can even have drive through churches. The question is, by running so much, do we have more time to spend in reflection or just merely enjoying what God has given us?
After a long day of work, do you have one or more errands to do? Or perhaps you have a couple of meetings to attend and some shopping before you reach home? And by the time you get there, can you get past the everyday conversation to some meaningful dialogue with the people that surround you?
Are you content with what you have? This is the land of abundance. Everywhere you look there is more than enough to choose from. Look at any supermarket and you will see aisle after aisle of any product in several versions and modalities. Sometimes you have difficulty in making choices.
While we live in the land of overabundance and discontentment where there is always a good reason to buy something that we really do not need; people elsewhere have to go without everyday things that are truly necessities in their lives.
Maybe the best way to stop the killing and misery in other countries lies in stopping the way we consume. How many cars does a household need? How many TVs do we need? How much food do we need to store?
A short while ago while in conversation with a group of Latinos, I asked them to think back to five years ago. How many shirts and how many pairs of shoes did they have and how many had they bought during the year 2005. I continue asking the same questions of myself and others.
I am asking the same question today to anyone who reads this editorial.
How many lies do you believe from a system that wants you to lose your life buying what you do not truly need? How many people engulfed in the current economic globalization are in the most tragic poverty because in the Northern Hemisphere people are in permanent discontent.
I do not celebrate Halloween, in my case is a matter of belief, and I also do not feel like celebrating a day that does not honor the natives of this land. They gave everything; above all they gave of themselves with kindness and generosity. How did the discontented newly arrivals return that generosity? Do we do the same today? Do we take away other peoples treasures, land and products and later ask them to celebrate democracy with us? After Thanksgiving comes Christmas.
The season for presents and best wishes for all. What is our present to the world? Do we share what we have without taking away from others? That maybe is the best present that this Christian country can give the world. What are we celebrating?