I had other plans for the blog today but our student ministry last night is still in my head. We did something a little different, I had students write down all the things they own, then all the things their family owns, then everything they had access to. I did my best to give lots of time (about half an hour) and asked they be as specific as possible (you couldn't say "clothes", how many pairs of socks, etc.)
My thinking was how can you be thankful if you don't think about what you have. The outcome is what surprised me. I was expecting people to be thankful (which they were) and think about those who are less fortunate (which they did), but we had one other major result. They simply shut down.
Some students stopped writing their list. Some asked me to make it stop. Some just completely checked out and went into their own little world staring at the floor. So I asked who was overwhelmed by making this list. Every hand went up. Everyone.
My goal wasn't to overwhelm people but make them think. The problem is, this is something we don't usually think about. The other problem is, we have so much stuff it's overwhelming. Some of the small group conversations turned to those who have less yet seem happier, even how many of their friends at school with more were more depressed. The simply fact of listing out what we have at our fingertips was so hard to do and so much to take in people mentally checked out, it was too much to handle.
I'm hoping people are thankful for what they have and they think a little bit more about it this week. But it's been making me think today. Do we simply have too much?