Betty Duffy

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Back to the well

I went shopping with my girlfriends at the real stores up on the North Side, the Mall with all the trendy stores. People get dressed when they go out on the North Side. My friend Pedge noted that people there were dressed up for an event, and that event was Shopping!

I thought, yes, of course, shopping is an event. Though, when I really considered the concept, it was ever-so-slightly depressing. Shopping is an event, often, the very event for which people are shopping, finding the right thing to wear for the next time one has occasion to participate in the hunt. Indeed, I had taken great care in putting together my own outfit to see and be seen by the fashionistas.

Shopping before I had kids was a relatively peaceful way to spend an afternoon. I could fool myself into thinking it was free entertainment, that I was just browsing, just out for a little recreation.

Clothing and feeding a family of seven makes shopping a bit more of a chore. But it's still a reason to leave the house besides school and doctors' appointments. I can always identify a need for myself or the family, and set out on a quest to fulfill it. I know that having met this "need," another will rise to fill it. The quest can go on forever.

A greater feat is convincing myself that I lack nothing.

Pedge said of herself the other day, "I'm like Dory (the forgetful blue fish from "Finding Nemo"), I wake up every morning feeling like there's something I'm supposed to remember, something I'm supposed to do. Why aren't I satisfied?

Every day I forget my vocation until I return to my prayer and recall, O God, it is You for whom I long.

And even still, I'm totally capable of walking out of the Adoration Chapel and right into TJ Maxx."

Will there ever be a day that I don't depend on God for my everything, even the most basic understanding of my purpose? It can be daunting to think that every day I'll have to keep coming back, not just once, but many times a day, back to the well. So much work to reign in my errant longings.

And yet, it's much less effort, and with none of the disappointment of perpetually questing after that which will never satisfy.


Kimberlie said...

I have often pondered what a complete alien would think was important to our culture if they were to watch TV and observe our daily lives. It causes me no small horror to think that it would be: granite countertops and bathrooms the size of a small NY apartment, cooking gourmet food on professional grade appliances, it takes at least 1000 sq ft per person in a family to live comfortably, caramel macchiatos are necessary, shopping is a competitive sport, weddings cost about a down payment on a home, you have to get a new car every 3 years, and having more than 1 child will greatly decrease your chances of doing any of the above.

The worst of it is, I buy into this mentality often by looking around at what I have and comparing it to what I don't have but think I need/deserve to have, and spend too much time being discontent and longing for the unimportant. Back to the Well indeed.

BettyDuffy said...

I've had the same thought, Kimberlie.

Why do I have to be so annoyingly unsatisfiable?

Karyn said...

I have found that sheltering myself from certain things has helped with the materialistic longings. I didn't consciously do it but moving to a rural place, doing without a television, and having no magazine subscriptions really helps - but I'm surprised at how quickly I'm pricked with those longings when I do go to the city or see a magazine.

On the other hand, I'm afraid my longings are more directed towards people in "real life" - my friend who has a weekly babysitter, the friend whose mother takes the kids for week long vacations, the couple who gets away for that bed-and-breakfast weekend. Yet here I am with the Church, my wonderful husband, five healthy kids, and the ability (and choice) to stay home with them - yet I'm so often dissatisfied. Yes, pray.

JMB said...

I actually get more pleasure these days by grocery shopping than clothes shopping. The one thing I hate is the constant sales and the feeling like you are just getting screwed. It really bothers me that 5 different people can buy the same shirt at JCrew or AT Loft for a different price point in a two to four week period. So I rarely buy anything that is not on sale, or even if it is on sale, I will search the internet and return it or get a price adjustment. There is nothing peaceful or fun about that.

When I go the grocery store, I know pretty much how much things cost and I can figure out what kind of food (creative) to make with my purchases. Going to the liquor store is even more exciting these days! A good bottle of wine for under $10 bucks! Whoo hoo! That makes me happy! Shopping for clothes - eh, not so much.