Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Upside of a Recession/Zombie War

I've been reading a book called World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War recently as a fun book. I'm not typically a fan of the horror or zombie genre, so this was an odd choice for me, but it doesn't get into the typical gore or viscera that I associate with zombies, so that's something in the plus column. I won't go into the plot of it, but one of the outcomes is that the survivors of the onslaught are forced to do what they have to to survive. In some cases, this involves very hard choices, but in others, people who are in places of power are forced to abandon those to do what's best for society to survive. Lawyers, movie executives, politicians are forced to learn trades and skills from their former gardeners and carpenters. They have to choose to do things they consider beneath them. But it also forces the community together and people (mostly) stop worrying about their petty concerns and take care of each other.

It got me thinking about this recession that we're experiencing now. For so long, we've been deluded by the idea that we are what we have from 401(k)'s to cars and houses and toys. But as those things get taken from us, we realize that we have to be more than that. And it's easy for me to say that probably, since I haven't lost a job or a car or a house. But I have been unemployed. I've had to scrape to provide for my family, and I've had to learn that what I have is not who I am. What I have are entertainments for my downtimes or tools to use for tasks. It's why I don't really care about the car I drive. I want it functional and I want it safe. Admittedly, I'm worse about gadgets and tech stuff, but I also don't let the fact that I won't be watching the Super Bowl on a super hi-def 72" inch screen drive me into a depression.

I'm not defined by stuff. I'm defined by being an imperfect follower of Jesus, trying daily to be better at it, resting in God's grace provided through Christ. The other stuff is just window dressing. And maybe the upside of a recession is to stop defining ourselves by the window dressing.

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