The thing is, in the world of ebooks and Print On Demand (POD), the produce model is outdated. Ebooks take up very little space in a seller's inventory system and a POD book doesn't exist until a customer orders it. But traditional publishers still cling to the idea that a book only has three months to prove itself before it's tossed in the recycle bin.
As I eat my breakfast each morning, I read a devotional from The Word For You Today. This week was a series on setting boundaries. The devotionals in turn described rigid boundaries, permeable boundaries, and flexible boundaries. Knowing how to set boundaries is difficult for most people, some more than others. I've gone through periods in my life where my boundaries were much too permeable, where my desire to please others was so great that it left no room for me. I'm the kind of person who needs quiet time, personal space to offset the times when I have to be with people. Social occasions, even going to work every day where I need to interact with people, is exhausting to me. As a result, I learned to carve out time for me, to say no to those who would persist on not granting me that alone time. I set my boundaries and kept people out.
I've also been preoccupied with planning for retirement. An image that haunts me is me, pushing a shopping cart around the streets of Tucson, a bag lady, homeless, dirty, hungry, and alone. I've read financial pundits who seem to think you need a million dollars put aside to make sure you don't outlive your retirement money. Your house should be paid off, you should have no debt, but you should have lots of supplemental health insurance, long term care insurance, a burial plot or crypt for you ashes, and on and on and on. I don't have any of that and won't unless I buy a lottery ticket and win.
And then along came Hurricane Sandy and the devastation and misery left behind.
|NJ after Hurricane Sandy|
I decided that I had to donate to the Red Cross to help. And I thought of how I'd been looking at life from the produce model. I keep thinking about the scarcity, rather than the abundance. Compared to so many who had lost so much, I am rich beyond measure. And I remembered how, when I made the big bucks back in Boston and New York, the more I gave away, the more I seemed to have.
I haven't felt that way recently. I also haven't been giving much away. It seems that, since I lost my job in Boston (and another one here in Arizona), I've been pulling back. Yes, my income has decreased each time and I'm worried about retirement, but, like I said, I have a lot more than many people in this country do. Have my boundaries become too rigid? Have I been living under the produce theory of life?
|Border Between Nogales, AZ and Nogales, Mexico|
But I don't think Jesus believed in the produce theory of life. After all, He fed 5,000 on a few loaves and fishes and there was plenty left over. So, as a Christian, shouldn't I try to do the same? What would happen if I started worrying less about obeying the letter of the law and more about welcoming those who have come here looking for a better life? What if I stopped being angry at the fact that they're sending money to relatives still in Mexico, taking it away from this country, and started rejoicing that they are helping other people, family, to feed and clothe themselves? Would a huge crime wave start if we stopped trying to keep people out and worked harder at letting them in?
I don't know. I'm still wrestling with this one. I just know that I've seen life in a different perspective this week and am trying it on for size.
Vegetables: Image ID: 10042218 by kratuanoiy via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Hurricane Sandy: U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen
Mexican-American Border at Nogales: Sgt. 1st Class Gordon Hyde