a material girl ponders the least of these

Posted: March 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

I like to think I’m not a material person.  In general, I am not interested in “things.”  I’ve mentioned before that when conversation turns to people talking long about possessions, I mentally check out of the room.  I like to imagine I’m just about downright monk-ish in my Not Caring About the Material.

And then comes a day like today.  I got off of one cell phone carrier (under my son) and switched to another carrier (under a friend) this morning, which will save me 40% on my monthly cell phone bill, and will bump me up from a very limited data package (which is a bummer, on an Iphone) to unlimited data (I know, I know, first world problems and all that).

I hoped they would let me keep my same phone, since it was an Iphone 4.  I have really liked it a lot ever since my son got it for me for Christmas the year before last, and cannot imagine going back to a non-smart phone, and have really detested other smart phones when I’ve seen them in action, as compared to the Iphone. 

But of course, being a different carrier, they wouldn’t let me keep the same phone.  Happy news was, they gave me a good enough trade-in price on my phone that I was able to...cue drumroll here...UPGRADE TO AN IPHONE 5!!! *insert applause and whooping cheers*

And here’s where we learn that Karen is not a monk at all, not even remotely monk-ish, not at all untethered from materialism.  Oh, I can be very happy living with very little.  I don’t miss having a TV, don’t care that I don’t have a stereo, am not interested in getting newer, nicer furniture or a cooler car.  I don’t dream about a regular supply of new clothes or shoes, and makeup?  Whatever!  Forget about it. 

But OH BABY.  Though I don’t sit around dreaming and scheming about the next electronic upgrade, truth is:  I LOVE ME SOME NEW TECHNOLOGY!  I didn’t even have the heart to care, when the salesgirl said “no” to keeping my old phone.  I was practically rubbing my hands together with glee, when I ordered me up the latest and greatest.  And I walked out of the store with a big stupid grin on my face that hasn’t yet gone away.  What a material girl.

Funnest of all for me in this change is I’m now going to be paying the same per month that I was paying back when I had a prepaid Walmart slider phone, not even a smart phone, back in 2011.  So I can have all this extra fun without feeling like a selfish material ass.  WOO HOO!  This is even more fun than my recent acquisition at work of the smart pen. 

So I’ve been sitting here doing the initial 100% charge, which is taking forever because I’m downloading all my apps and re-arranging my screen and learning how to use Siri and such.  (I swear, I thought I didn’t want Siri, thought it was just a silly toy, and I’m already totally loving it!)  I wish my kids were here, because they are EXTRA FUN to have around when there’s new technology to be learned (ummm I don’t know if they get that from me, or if I get that from them.)  

Amidst my temporary electronic upgrade euphoria, I am very aware that it’s probably GOOD that I don’t have a ton of money to be able to just have whatever I want, whenever I want it.  I notice that I float off into this cloud of glee over new stuff that tends to temporarily smudge my focus on the things of God that usually fascinate me, draw me, challenge me, grow me, and continuously change me. 

Which takes me back to looking at who are REALLY “the least of these.”  I mean, some you can look and know.  The homeless person.  The physically, mentally or emotionally weak or ill.  Those trapped in poverty and/or squalor.  These are obvious.  

But what about those who are slaves to their possessions and bank accounts and benefit plans?  What about those who have so much too much that they cannot begin to perceive the spiritual?  I wonder if THEY are the least of these, too, in God’s eyes.  I’m not saying I know that they are.  I’m just wondering aloud. 

After all…a slave is a slave, no matter the master, eh? 

Here’s to running quickly back to my Master and not serving a lesser one, for even a little while.  May it be so. 

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