Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why I'd be a hippy if I could, Part I

Hayley: I hate Edy's ice cream.
Mom: Why?
Hayley: Because it's gross.
Mom: Then why are you eating it?
Hayley: Because I'm sad!

I am sad, but it's kind of silly. Sad that I'm eating Edy's ice cream, sad that I fail as a driver, sad about that trip to the mall . . . okay, quick unfortunate story. I went to the mall. I walked around. I tried on clothes at GAP, and almost bought Ocean's 12 and The Prestige at Target. . . And I was incredibly depressed by American consumerism and my part in it.

I recently went four and a half weeks without doing my laundry because I could - I don't think I need any new clothes. And as rad as that embroidered tank top was, it wasn't worth $20. I can get those movies out of the library any time I want, I shouldn't buy them just because they're my favorites. And I eat enough junk food that I couldn't justify buying any of that either. [Target does not carry Nutella anyway.]

But the awful part is, I wanted to buy stuff. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to buy, I just had money in my pocket, and I was sad about being a fail driver, and I was exasperated no-gchat-until-math's-done-pledge-fail, and I was overwhelmed by college stuff, and I wanted to spend money for its own sake. On things I didn't need, for no good reason.

In his book Revolution in World Missions, K.P. Yohannan talks about his reaction when he first came to the United States after evangelizing all through poverty-stricken villages in India. He gently explains how clear it is to him that America has been blinded by its wealth, how the Western church has been blessed with prosperity but fails to utilize this abundance to the greatest benefit of the Gospel.

I feel like I've been hearing about money and stuff everywhere. Michael just finished a Real Life series on money, tything, stuff, and mercy giving. Dave Ramsey's been playing on the radio non-stop in our house while my mom reads The Total Money Makeover. The neighborhood just had a yard sale. My mom's jumped on the Flylady wagon, and we've been getting rid of 27 things each day. Even just thinking about Alas, Babylon last night, and why I love it so much. I've been drenched the message that stuff doesn't matter. I know it doesn't matter. I hate stuff.

And this was what was running through my head as I wandered aimlessly around Target, scowling at the crap for sale, grumpy at the fact that so many people buy junk that they don't need, and frustrated that at that moment I almost was (and somehow still wanted to be) one of those people. Why is it that even though I hate stuff, I kind of wanted it? (How well I know the answer to that one.)

And here I am, eating my Edy's ice cream, indulging in an extravagance I don't even really like because I'm sad that I wanted to chase away my sadness with shopping. I wish I was past this. Ah, what fools these mortals be.


Andrew said...

Agh... Flylady. And sadly I am one of those people, but only when I receive gift cards. I am currently considering buying a shiny blue studded belt and a Sham-Wow t-shirt (emblazoned with the slogan, "It sells itself!)

Okay, you've got to understand the appeal of the latter.

Grace Joan said...

I know this feeling.
I am you (in that moment).

oh dear.

I have no thoughts, solutions, or consolations.
I have only a sad agreement - a sad admission of guilt.

Siobhan said...

I'm very guilty of buying things for the sake of buying them. I like having the best, most up-to-date, expensive things just because I they will somehow make me worth something. It's sad, depressing, and stupid and I'm trying to break myself of the habit. It's hard. *Sigh* I can't wait for Heaven.

Lis said...

Dear Hayley, you'd never be a hippy


Kaitlyn said...


Lord, save us from ourselves...

Michael said...

"I want out of this machine, it doesn't feel like freedom!"

Peter said...

Is this when you questioned the pronunciation?

p.s. You turned out to be a superb driver!