Tuesday, September 6, 2016

On Being and Having Enough

Lately I've been thinking about the word "enough."

I recently read Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods, a memoir by Christine Byl, in which she concludes with some really deep, insightful paragraphs about what it means to have enough in her new Alaskan home.

Bounty can be paralyzing, the awful clench of how to choose and I'll never get it all. The Tao Ching says, "There is no calamity like not knowing what is enough," and so I'm slowly learning to note what I need, to be satisfied with what there is time for, not cowed by what I miss. There is so much enough; enough for the bears and my neighbors and the birds, enough for pies and pancakes and two batches of jam and a freezer stash, enough for a winy thing in the air and the drop-and-rot that foments next decade's humus.

As I fold my husband's and my six sweatshirts and try to shove them into already-stuffed drawers, as I paw through workout clothes to find the exact one tank I want to wear tomorrow, as I run my finger along the spines of my books on my to-read bookshelf... I feel a little ashamed, because I know I have more than enough.

Yet, sometimes I want more. I have most of what dollars can buy, but sometimes I want priceless things like time or attention or support. I'm not satisfied with that which I'm already given, and I'm perplexed if it's fair to want more, or if I should be satisfied with the time, attention, and support I've already got.

But at this very moment, as I'm typing this with my three kids reading themselves to sleep, my new puppy snorting in her sleep while in the cutest belly-up position, and my husband buying a new power tool on Amazon, and as I look back at this summer, I know I have enough. I was enough, I did enough. We laughed enough, we ate enough, we saw enough, we relaxed enough, we explored enough, we cried enough, we met enough new people, we missed enough old people.

It's a good feeling, knowing that for once I got the balance right.

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