I have a quote on the wall directly in front of my desk in my home office and it says…
“We don’t create abundance. Abundance is always present. We create limitations.” Arnold Patent
Wow! It almost takes my breath away when I read that. Why? Because it’s true, because it’s obvious and because it’s as hard as can be to get that concept through my thick head.
Not that we should blame every little thing on our parents, but I was raised by Depression Era parents. That’s dating me, yes. Some of you may not even know what that means, so I’ll explain it.
When your parents were raised during the depression, money was tight and so was the availability of goods. They saved everything. Re-purposing is a fad now, back then it was a way of life, a necessity. They didn’t waste ANYTHING. They didn’t spend money carelessly. There was never extra cash. Dad told me if you got an orange for Christmas is was a real treat! They rarely went to a doctor or dentist, there just wasn’t enough money.
Translating this to a day-to-day application: clothes were handed down not only from kid to kid in the same family, but from cousin to cousin, neighbor to neighbor. Clothes were carefully labeled in boxes: newborn – 1 year, size 2 and 3 (boy), size 2 and 3 (girls) and on up, then passed around to each family as they needed. Bath tubs were filled and then the kids bathed one by one, starting with the oldest and on down to the youngest…which I guess meant that the last kid probably was never all that clean, bathing in cold, dirty water! They had few toys or books, so they used their imagination to create things out of what they did have.
Food was also repurposed. Left over beef roast (if you were lucky enough to afford meat) was made into stew or hash. Bacon grease was saved for frying up potatoes later. Ham bones were boiled to make broth for ham pot pie. Chicken bones from a roasted chicken were boiled down to make soup. Stale bread was made into stuffing or bread pudding. Organ meat (gizzards and hearts) were used to make soup because they were cheap and flavorful. Coffee was poured over oyster crackers for breakfast…making something they called “coffee soup.”
Even though my parents were much better off when they were raising us, than when they were growing up, a lot of those habits carried over. Mom washed out zip-lock bags and reused them. We wore hand-me-downs or made our own clothes. Mom kept old pairs of jeans that were too ratty to wear, to use the good parts to patch dad’s jeans. Every little bit of food was scraped from the pots or serving dishes, put in the fridge for left-overs. There was very little waste in our home.
Times have changed though, and things are much better. Thank heavens we could fill the tub with fresh water when we bathed! As I got older, and my dad got a more secure, steady income, we could buy our clothes instead of making them and started eating out occasionally.
When I got my first job and had my own money, I felt myself following in my parent’s footsteps. I never went into debt, always staying within my means. I never bought extravagant things or “fluff”, as I called it, things purchased on a whim that have no purpose. I was so practical, always putting away for when times got bad…again. Because we heard that all the time. Things are going to get very bad, make sure you prepare for when things get bad. We were always living under a cloud of doomsday when things were going to get bad, to the point where it was hard to enjoy what you did have because you were going to lose it “when things got bad.”
Which brings me back to the quote, and my thick head.
My parent’s generation were always preparing for leaner times. They had lived through them once and it was hard for them to think in terms of abundance. They couldn’t fully appreciate the bounty they had in their later years because they were sure they were going to lose it.
I don’t have to think that way! I never had it rough. The world that I live in is a totally different place than the world my parents grew up in. There is abundance, not only in material things, but in love and happiness and generosity and freedom. There is abundance, not only for us, but for others. We are a blessed people, living in a free country with much abundance. Let’s not place limitations on giving or receiving this abundance. I believe once we open our eyes to the abundance around us and start to appreciate it and share it, this country, and the world will be a better place.