I’m really uncomfortable with overabundance. Probably not the best state of mind from which to welcome an abundant and golden new age.
Although to clarify, “overabundance” in this instance refers to storing more emergency food than we’d likely ever need.
I’ve been intermittently stocking up for the perpetually predicted shortages, but I’m doing so in a random manner, without calculating what we need or how long things will last.
I think I’m getting to a saturation point.
How much is enough? And how much is too much?
That’s the $64,000 question.
Perhaps I’ve nearly gone past the point of collecting what we need and have fallen into a parody of prepper-ism. It feels like overflow. It does not feel necessary to our survival.
It’s a bit like being at a buffet and piling the plate much too high. Oh my goodness. I can never eat all this. What was I thinking?
Where’s the line between prudent emergency supplies and needless stockpiling?
If I’m so uncomfortable, perhaps I have teetered over into the realm of the hoarder.
When I think of hoarders, I remember old man Cassidy who lived down the street when I was a kid. This was in semi-rural Lafayette, California, during the sixties and early seventies.
Cassidy was a World War II veteran and a child of the Depression (similar to my father’s background). He owned over two acres of land which contained a small home and many dilapidated sheds.
After he died, the property was sold. (Full disclosure: my father bought it.)
If I tell you that one of the sheds contained a stuffed horse—a taxidermied brown-spotted Paint specimen—and a garish blue-and-white player piano, that gives you an idea.
Inside the house, there was enough of a pathway between furniture and piles of dusty objects to wend a way through the rooms. Newspapers dating from the 1930s teetered in stacks to the ceiling and overflowed in drifts on the scarred hardwood floors.
I still remember our astonishment, disbelief, and borderline horror. How had this man, this neighbor, lived like this for so many decades?
I look at the kitchen counter with its new drifts of canned and packaged food. Another trip to the store, another round of “just in case“ purchases.
When do I stop? How do I stay within the borders of normalcy and not spill over into hoarder-ville?
If I wanted to be logical, I would make a list of the food that I consider to be emergency supplies.
Figure out how many meals this represents. How many days this would last.
But I’m not sure logic is helpful in this case.
I think I would be better served by opening my Armageddon closet and patiently sitting, just gazing at the overstuffed shelves. Ponder what I’m really feeding by storing so much excess.
There’s an unwelcome guest that is siphoning energy from this state of affairs, and I think I know its name.
Fear is what’s prompting this over-purchasing. I recognize it but haven’t wanted to face it.
The specter of old man Cassidy, found dead days after his passing when the mailman noticed the overflowing mailbox, sits quietly next to me as I contemplate the ranks of packages, jars, and cans.
What do you think? I ask him.
Well, you’ve done a good job of stocking up. I couldn’t have done better myself.
And that imaginary conversation gives me a clue to the way out.
I can be finished with this foray into hoarder-ville anytime I wish. All I need to do is release this long-held fear of lack.
I suppose I ought to be grateful for being forced to consider this embedded characteristic yet one more time. I’ve waltzed with it on numerous occasions over the decades. And now, perhaps, it’s time to bow out of that dance for good.
Goodbye, fear of lack. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.