Wayne Muller has written a book with the intriguing title “a life of being, having and doing enough.” I’m suspicious of the grammar, and he doesn’t even capitalize the first letters in the title. (But readers of this blog will already know that he who is without sin casts the first stone, and I sin boldly when it comes to grammar.) Rather, it is the word “enough” in the title that has caught my attention.
I think Muller has found one of those words that has layers and layers of meaning around it. It is a word that raises questions about my life, both practical and spiritual.
· Am I working hard enough in my job?
· Do I have enough money?
· Am I doing enough for the needs of the world?
· Am I praying enough?
· Am I spending enough time playing with my kids?
First, how do we know we have secured enough food, shelter, sanctuary, health and security for ourselves and our loved ones? And second, as members of our global human family saturated with unnecessary suffering and death, what is enough for us to do, to give to contribute? As we listen together to these challenges, I expect we will discover that these two basic human needs—to have enough and to do enough—live within us as two chambers of a single beating heart.
When Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves, he seems to be pointing to this same question: How do we balance care of ourselves with the needs of the world? How much is enough in either of these areas?
Without offering any easy answers, Muller raises up the importance of our choices. Specifically, he speaks of “the next right thing.” He says,
“Every single choice we make, no matter how small, is the ground where who we are meets what is in the world. And the fruits of that essential relationship—the intimate, fertile conversation between our own heart’s wisdom and the way the world has emerged before us—becomes a lifelong practice of deep and sacred listening for the next right thing we are required to do.”
Sometimes the needs of the world and within me feel overwhelming. Shortening the scope by focusing on the next right thing might well be enough.