Contentment Would Destroy Our Economy

If tomorrow everyone were altogether content with the storage facilities of stuff they already had, the toys in their toy box, or the garage, satisfied that the house was warmed and the fridge was full, our economy would take a sharp turn for the worse. It is difficult to be content in America.

I feel the pull: the car that doesn't have an air conditioner, the guitar that doesn't entirely get the sound I'd like, and it would sure be nice to have an office space in our apartment.

Discontentment with this life is a reality, which we so often try to drown out with more things, more distractions, more food. We have forgotten how to stew in discontentment, to let it remind us what C.S. Lewis said about what our unfulfilled desires pull us to.

I'll let the poet George Herbert wrap things up.


The Pulley

   When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.
Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,
   Contract into a span.”
    So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
   Rest in the bottom lay.
  “For if I should,” said he,
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
   So both should losers be.
   “Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
   May toss him to my breast.”

May the restlessness lead you to rest.