Abundance. I think of bright buttons slipping from a too-full jar. Wordsworth’s laughing daffodils spilling to the sea. A snowy Saturday, chores done, when I have nothing before me but hours reading Mary Oliver’s poems. Abundance.
But I’ve heard people reject abundance as the sign of misallocated resources, the source of scarcity, the rich person’s wasp-like sting that bloats bellies of dying children. I’ve heard them say that Enough should be our mission, not Abundance.
This, I believe, is the power and philosophy of Scarcity. When I live within a Scarcity mindset — of resource, time, love — I find myself clinging to the scraps I have. I scramble to grab and hold, not venture forth and risk. I hug my arms to my chest rather than fling them outward to catch what opportunity sends me.
Sometimes, holding back, I tell myself I have enough, that I deserve no more, that if I gain another necessarily must lose.
I acknowledge the kinship of Scarcity, Enough and Abundance. But I worry: if I operate in a paradigm of Scarcity, I accede to winners and losers: achieving Enough for some must come at the expense of others. Take from those who have more than enough and level the field for everyone — so that everyone has (only) Enough.
That construct saddens me. I aspire to a world where all have Enough — resources and love especially. But I refuse to abjure Abundance. Indeed, I believe that Enough depends on our explicit embrace of Abundance as a universal possibility. If I truly believe that our Earth is blessed with more than enough love, food, health, education, energy and fulfillment for all in this world (because, objectively, this is true), then I can work to ensure that, out of the world’s Abundance, each of us has Enough.
If I live in a spirit of Abundance, I can make — and be — a loving, generous gift overflowing from one with more to those with less. If I live in a spirit of Abundance, I believe that Abundance fills and fills us again. Am I filled anew with the dollars or bushels or love given away? Perhaps. But more likely Abundance fills me with freedom. Freedom from my things, gone but not mourned. Freedom from my fixation on what I lack, not what I have. Freedom from my enslavement to my fears.
I think of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. From five loaves and two fish, Jesus produced twelve baskets of scraps and thousands of bellies full. From protests of Scarcity (send them home, the disciples said, for we cannot feed them) to Abundance (giving thanks and breaking bread) to Enough. With plenty more left over.
I wrote this piece for Five Minute Friday, a faith-based community blogging site at: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/03/07/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-more/. Check out the other short essays on the topic of “More.”