During this time of year, resolutions made at the top of the year are starting to wane. Surges in gym memberships are slowing. Cookie sales pick back up. Strict bedtimes, reading schedules and organized living practices start to relax. The efforts to lose weight, live a better life or become a better human (while noble and good) are becoming harder to maintain in the cold, grey days of winter.
This January, our little company is busier than any other January (said with a humble and grateful heart). Most Januarys are slow in our business, so slow that in previous years, we’ve had mandatory time off scheduled for employees. Not this year. We have enough work to keep everyone busy and we can pay the bills. God is good.
As the excitement of a new year slowly dissolves into the routine of daily life, I’m vexed by a theory I first considered 14 years ago while in grad school. In the above paragraph, one word stands out that has great meaning and lesson for me: enough.
I recall a marketing class in grad school where I pondered the concept of using the word “enough” as a literal tool for living. Ironic that the word enough should matter to me in a class teaching about methods to sell more to a gluttonous culture.
You see, gluttony is one of my sins (one of many). I eat too much. I swear too often. I work too much. I spend too much. Much of the excess could be curtailed if I didn’t sometimes wrestle with the idea of having enough, if I’ve eaten enough, if I’ve taken on enough. And at the very root of enough is the hardest word to say; the word “no”.
It’s right there, barely one letter into the word. No. Two simple letters that can change a person’s life.
In the obvious example of weight loss, saying no to certain things can really make a difference. No carbs, no sweets, no sodas. One change is usually all it takes to start a new habit. And asking yourself if the one or two bites of chocolate are enough to satisfy your sweet tooth could probably save you from devouring the entire bag of M & M’s (spoken from experience). Most of my friends and family could easily say they have enough to eat. We just can’t seem to say no.
Since it’s been so cold, so bitterly cold, we see churches opening their fellowship halls to offer shelter from the weather. Our “regular” shelters are at maximum capacity. The people who need these services do not have enough. Yet here, we who have enough, continue to say no to the wrong things.
I am so far from perfect and these heavy thoughts are on my mind in these cold days. How can my enough translate to someone without? Can I continue to say no when I am aware there’s enough in my closet, wallet, pantry? Am I strong enough to say no to myself and say yes to others?
I dare say that I have stretched my comfort zone a bit in the last few months – taking chances on hiring and asking my company to refrain from working on Sundays. With some decisions working out beautifully (I’m currently listening to music in some other language filter in from the kitchen, selected by one of our precious new hires), some decisions are harder to keep. We still work on Sundays. It’s difficult to say no to customers we love. So, I’m considering the “enough” – if we have enough work, then there’s room to give a bit more to those who do not have enough. Maybe that’s in the form of a job for someone who needs it. And I know we should be giving more to the shelters and to those who shelter. Our weekly contributions to the local soup kitchen can continue. I want those contributions to grow. We have enough.
This rambling, dear readers, is going to continue in my head as the year evolves. Instead of a theme song for the year, I think the word enough and its root word, no, will be heavy on my mind. I’m inspired to clean out my closet and the pantry to give away the excess. I know the inspiration will not last forever, but my goal will be to consider how much is enough and keep that thought process going. I want to learn how to say no to myself and not to others. God has given me enough, and I am grateful. I pray you have enough this new year.
*The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.