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Kids are going hungry; can I still want a new kitchen floor?

What an awe-inspiring, wonder-filled, baffling and stupid world we live in. Today, millions and maybe billions of children are going hungry. Yet, here I sit, planning my kitchen upgrade.

A recent commenter on this blog suggested I give up envy and desire and be happy with the kitchen I have.

He or she has “ugly, ugly, I mean hideous old vinyl flooring in the kitchen” with a “bizarre pattern of red, black gray, brown and yellow” that “clashed with everything.” And yet he or she (I’m assuming it’s a he) has lived with that vinyl for 10 years in favor of funding a savings account.

And so that got me thinking . . . how do we square what’s happening in the world with our own prosperous surroundings? Should I strive to live like the poorest person on the planet? Or the richest? Obviously my own level will be somewhere in between. But where on the scale? That is my dilemma.

I want to be a good citizen of the planet. But there are economic, political and religious forces that I did not create and I cannot control. Should the greed and corruption of others dictate my own level of prosperity?

I do agree that envy is not the way to go, nor is craving and unrelenting dissatisfaction with my current living situation. Indeed, much of our country’s economy depends on my and your chronic unhappiness with our lives, the solution to which will be revealed at the next commercial break.

But for me, it’s not envy. I’m looking for beauty in my surroundings, and grace and harmony.

Can I pursue that state of being and still be a good citizen of the world? Or am I a traitor to those children?

How about you? How do your goals for a pleasing and well-kept home make sense in light of all the sufferings in the world?

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