Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday.

That's what they call today: "Black Friday."

Retailers open their doors -some of them- at 4 a.m. They feature a few extraordinary deals in every store. So crowds line up in the early morning dark, and -I'm told- the whole scene is a little crazy as people are let in to fight (sometimes literally!) for that particular item.

I don't know what to hope for.

Experts in economics tell us that consumer spending is the energy that drives the economy. Keeps factories and stores open. Provides jobs.

Others have rightly noted that an economic system dependent on constant spending, constant consuming, leads to an exhausted, depeleted planet inhabited by people who are -in the words of the hymn- "rich in things and poor in soul." If we keep spending the way we are, keep working the planet the way we are, this could have catastrophic consequences.

One of the few positives in the current economic downturn has been the realization that we don't need to have more. That we already have more than enough stuff. And that maybe it is time for us -in North America and Western Europe- to move beyond the foolishness of thinking that the next trinket we can buy will bring us happiness. Maybe this is the moment we re-discover the value of relationships and spirituality. Maybe this is the time when we see that who we are, our being, is more important than what we own or drive.

So on this "Black Friday" do we pull for the shoppers to turn out in full force, or do we hope that we'll continue to invest more in relationships than stuff?

I don't know.

Guess I'll let God sort it out. We're off to Chicago. Not to shop (I think) but to watch people, walk the streets, see the lights, and just hang out together on this beautiful day. Maybe I'll just step in one store or two...

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