I have very wise friends with excellent timing. On Friday after I posted about my little issue with shopping at the Pottery Barn, my friend Sara offered this comment on my Facebook page:

Take a picture!!! That’s what I do to “shop” without breaking the bank.

Oh, how I love it when things work out. Because this is exactly what we’re talking about today– do we have to own something to enjoy it? 

Many years ago, when I was but a wee child, my siblings and I had this game we played in the car. As we drove through nice neighborhoods with gigantic houses we’d claim the houses at the top of our lungs while we were crammed in the back seat of our 1981 Escort station wagon.

Me:”That one’s mine!”
Charlie:”No, mine!”
Bethy:”I get that one, then.”

This continued for many minutes while my parents rubbed their temples and wondered why they’d ever taught us to talk. I’m sure they purposely drove through crappy neighborhoods whenever possible  just so we wouldn’t be tempted to play this little game.

Did we have a perfectly nice farmhouse of our own? Yes, we did. We had acreage and pets and barns and lots of trees to climb. We lacked nothing, but we knew life would be so much better if we owned that 3,000 square foot beach house in Northern Michigan.

As adults, the desire hasn’t left any of us. The race is on to see which one of us we can con into buying a beach house first, so the rest of us can mooch off their good will. As adults, we can calculate the taxes and mortgage involved in a 3,000 square foot beach house and we can also calculate how many hours we’d have to work to afford that and then we realize we’d be dead before we’d even get one foot in the house, with those kinds of hours. But if my brother is willing to work that many hours for my benefit, then I’m all for it. You’re up, Chuck. Go for it.

I think a lot of people see something beautiful or desirable and react with this thought– I must own it. 

But do we really? Is it possible to enjoy something just because it exists and we get to experience a part of it?

Ecclesiastes 5:10

I think it is possible. As I was walking through the Pottery Barn the other day, I enjoyed every minute. I ogled the candles and imagined dinners for 30 at my table spread with matching plates and turkey-themed bowls. Heavenly.

Then I realized that was enough. It was enough to imagine, to take away ideas, and to be thankful someone had created such beautiful things. I don’t need to actually own any of that stuff, but I enjoyed it completely.

It’s enough to rent a house for a few days each year. It’s enough to be thankful with less.


What’s your enough? Where can you draw the line and find contentment?


2 Comments on Can I Enjoy This Without Actually Purchasing It?

  1. memyselfandkids.com
    October 23, 2014 at 2:33 pm (3 years ago)

    Glad this method helps you. I don’t think it would work for me. I’d rather not be around it or not pay attention to it. Out of sight – out of mind sort of thing.

  2. Jessie Clemence
    October 23, 2014 at 6:24 pm (3 years ago)

    That works better for me too, honestly. If I stay out of the stores I don’t realize all the stuff I’m missing. But when I DO go shopping, I’m trying to realize I can enjoy it without actually taking it home with me!