Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Material Discontent

We* have had our vacuum since we received it as a wedding present. In other words, our vacuum is almost six years old. For quite some time, every time we use it we have gotten a strong dusty smell, even when the bag was just changed. This combined with knowing that with two children, the floor should be vacuumed or at spot-vacuumed at least every other day and increased knowledge of dust mites and allergens in the carpet has made me want a new vacuum.

I would read blog posts by people with a Dyson and think, "Wow. I would really like a Dyson. It is so powerful." Then I would visit people who had a Roomba and think, " This would be great to have. I would easily be able to vacuum every single day." Or I would have to get out the vacuum just to vacuum up a patch of dirt or food and think, "What I really need is a hand vac. It is just ridiculous to lug out this big thing just to vacuum up a small area of the carpet."

It was with great shock that I realized that I desired not one but THREE new vacuums. That was a bit extreme, especially when the vacuum I had was still functioning. How could this happen? How could I be so materialistic? I could give the excuse that "I want all" like St. Therese said, but I don't think that is a valid excuse for me. Rather, I think it is a consequence of living in a rich country where lots of people buy what they want when they want it regardless of their financial situation. We see the nice things that people have and want them too, not knowing whether they can afford them or whether those things just drove them deeper into debt.

For Christmas I was given a Roomba. However, ideally, I still would like both a Dyson and a hand vacuum. Having one object of my desire unfortunately did not quench my desire for the others. Even though these are only wants and not all-consuming desires, it disturbs me that I feel this way. However, I don't know how to rid myself of this greed (or is it envy? or merely covetousness?). Whatever it is, it seems to be a spiritual ill and I suppose I need to pray more for contentment. Lucky me: Lent begins tomorrow! It seems to be the perfect time to try to become less attached to worldly things.

*I say "we" because my husband vacuums just as much as I do, and more if I am pregnant.

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