I recently read a column about happiness and how to have satisfaction in life. There was a quote by the Spanish Catholic Saint Josemaría Escrivá that read, “Don’t forget it: he has most who needs least. Don’t create needs for yourself.”
I have pondered this thought a lot these days as we have all settled into a more isolated and quieter place in life. I have tried to appreciate the solitude at times, the desire to creatively connect with others, and even the boredom that comes with not being able to get up and go and do whatever you want whenever the mood strikes. I love to shop, and I have never been one to make a long list, plan a trip, then stick to the list and come home. On any given week, I might visit the grocery store multiple times, maybe even go to several ones to find just the right item. Sometimes I get home, realize that I forgot an item, and get right back in the car and go to the store again. This has all changed in recent months. I, like so many of you, have become more thoughtful and deliberate as I venture out. I have also settled into a certain satisfaction in doing without.
Perhaps satisfaction cannot be summarized with a simple equation, but I like to think of it kind of like this: What You Have ÷ What You Want = Satisfaction. With that, it can be easy to choose to move the needle by increasing the dividend; increase what you have, and you will surely be satisfied because it will be more than what you want. Unfortunately, with our current circumstances of being confined closer to home, having stores with limited hours (or being closed), or dealing with a job loss or illness, getting “what you want, when you want” really isn’t an option. So maybe it is better to diminish the Divisor – what you want.
Learning to live with less has reminded me of all I truly have. A comfortable home, technology that lets me stay connected to family and friends, a job that is flexible and rewarding, good health, a cupboard full of food that, with some creativity, can result in a nice dinner, and plenty of things in my closets and cabinets. My wants and my needs have taken some serious adjustments and that has led to a great increase in my satisfaction. In this time of our life that can be fraught with discontent, and even fear, it is good to know that God is our comfort and caretaker. He has given us all we need to live and be satisfied – it is good to be reminded in a very real way.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
– Lori Hall, Director of Missions