We have become a society of greed. Not only do we think we deserve to have everything we want, we want it right now.

A couple weeks ago I misplaced my cell phone, and it was a very long day. I kept thinking of calls I needed to make, messages I was probably missing. Maybe I was even missing important phone calls, because most of the calls I receive, even for work, are on my cell phone.

More than once I’ve wondered how we ever survived without cell phones. I’m sure the generation who is now in school has no idea what it was like to grow up without a cell phone, an iPod, video games and all those other necessities in their young lives. Looking back to my school years, I had never heard of cell phones, video games or DVD players, or not even microwave ovens.

We grew up in a home where clothes were washed in a wringer washer and until I was in high school, hung on a line to dry. Shirts, skirts, trousers and more were then dampened, rolled and put in a basket to be ironed. There was no grabbing them out of the dryer and hanging them up before wrinkles could set in.

Very few things cooked in Mom’s kitchen came from a box or a freezer; nearly everything was made from scratch. My grandma never even owned a cookbook, as far as I know. Somehow she just knew how much of this or that to throw into the bowl or pot, and her soups, cookies and jellies on homemade bread left you always wanting to go back for more.

Sadly, today, too many parts of our life have become automatic. Take a package out of the freezer, pop it into the microwave for a couple minutes, and dinner is served! If you want a salad to go with that microwaved meal, you can pick up a salad at the store and all you have to do is peel the lid off the container and add the dressing. Everything else has been done for you. Desserts even come in ready-to-serve portions.

With Christmas coming so quickly, and especially with all of this year’s restrictions, shopping for the younger members of the family is now a challenge. The kids have had electronic gadgets at their fingertips since birth. Through no fault of their own — maybe we can blame it on TV advertising or peer pressure — they want the newest version of phone, game or whatever else might be available. When I walk into the store, or try to shop online, I don’t even know what half the things are that I am looking at — is it a game, a phone or something that should be reserved for adults?

Somehow in becoming modern, we have forgotten how to live the good life. Anyone you talk to will say they are just too busy to do this or that or the other thing, when the “this and that” are the things that really make life worth living.

When the pandemic basically shut everything deemed non-essential down for a few weeks, many people went stir-crazy because they were forced to slow down. Many found that the expensive gadgets that had seemed so important just a few days earlier suddenly weren’t enough, they needed something else.

The uncertainties and fears brought on by the pandemic have left everyone feeling confused at one point or another. But maybe the lesson to be found in all of the confusion is that we don’t have to be confused; we were given a glimpse about how life used to be, when being with those we love was the most important thing. It reminds me of a line from one of my favorite Christmas movies, that says something like this: “We shouldn’t dwell on what we have lost, but instead should celebrate what we have found.”

Maybe the whole purpose of the pandemic was to remind us to slow down and enjoy the simpler things of life, at least for a little while.

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Thought for the week — Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. (Martin Luther King)

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