Together… The way it was, and/or a case for how it could or should be?

This past week, I read two interesting social media posts that I found myself thinking about quite often. Although each post was shared by different individuals, I believe the two posts really sync well together, almost like two stories shared to make one point. This morning, I find myself pondering over them once again and thought I would share the same in this morning’s newsletter instead of what I had prepared for today. As always, I look forward to learning your thoughts, so please do share.

Together – with or in proximity to another person or people… “together they climbed the dark stairs”; so as to touch or combine… “she held her hands together as if she were praying”; in combination, collectively… “taken together, these measures would significantly improve people’s chances of surviving a tornado”; into companionship or close association… “the experience has brought us together”; so as to be united or in agreement… “he won the confidence of the government and the rebels, but could not bring the two sides together”; at the same time… “they both spoke together”; without interruption; continuously… “she sits for hours together in the lotus position”

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I remember my father, when he pulled nails out of anything, he would straighten them to be reused. My mother would press little scraps of soap together to create a “new” bar. Any kind of food or drink container that made its way into the house was pressed into service for some other purpose. Clothes and toys got handed down to younger cousins. Shoes and small appliances were repaired, not replaced. When I think about these things today, they sound so penny-pinching but that’s how most of the people on my street lived. Never for one second did we think of ourselves as poor, but nothing with any useful life in it went to waste.

Maybe that way of life was a hangover from the Great Depression. My parents and those of their generation who lived through that nightmare were never the same. Financial security became an obsession. Saving something for a rainy day became their mantra. My parents never owned a credit card. If they wanted something they saved up and paid in cash. Buying a washing machine or a television set was a significant decision. When we got our first telephone, a black, beauty with a rotary dial, my mother had it installed in an alcove behind a little curtain like The Wizard of Oz.

We were mostly happy and well adjusted. Then Madison Avenue went to work telling us in TV ads that we weren’t cool unless we paid five times more for the jeans with somebody’s name on them. We started looking for happiness in things instead of people. Credit cards sprang up everywhere and people started buying houses, cars, fancy weddings and vacations they couldn’t afford. They found out too late that the simple lives their parents led, though not easy, made them happier than all the things money could buy. How can we restore an appreciation of simple pleasures back into our lives?

I hope it doesn’t take another Great Depression.

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United We Stand, Divided We Fall. Similar thoughts have appeared throughout history. 

In the biblical New Testament – translated into English from the historic Greek in Mark 3:25 as “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand”.

In an Aesop Fable (16th century) – “The Four Oxen and the Lion” – A LION used to prowl about a field in which Four Oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near, they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell a-quarrelling among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!