A week and a half ago, the Unitarian service was centered around the importance of a fair living wage, with particular emphasis on the food industry.
[In case you’ve been following along with the odd adventures of an atheist with two churches, yes, I continue to divide my time between the Quakers and the Unitarians. Sometimes I feels strongly propelled toward one or the other. Sometimes I feel ambivalent and let Owlet decide where to go that day. And some Sundays, like this past week, one or both children sports a leaky faucet of a nose so we stay home!]
I am wholeheartedly in favor of a fair wage for every person who is either a contributing member of society or has a decent reason not to be (kids, those with physical or mental limitations, great-grandma, etc.). However, what has stuck with me this week and a half is not the living wage issue despite being located within a sermon on the subject. Here is the essence, though possibly not the exact wording:
“Don’t be stingy in the face of someone else’s generosity.”
Stingy. The word just stuck with me somehow. Stingy is an onomatopoeia of the soul. You can feel it withering your heart like a walnut gone bad.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who learned emotional stinginess in middle school in an effort to be cool — or at least avoid mockery. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who maintains a certain level of stinginess in a misguided attempt to horde my resources against the exhaustion of motherhood. “Stingy” gives me the shivers in a way “evil” doesn’t, because wonderful, good, kind people are stingy many times a day. Trust me: I’m a decent sort, but now that I’ve found this effective label I’m counting dozens of stinge-moments over here even on my good days.
There’s only one thing that I have found helpful whilst combatting the stinge, aside from the moniker itself: if you find yourself amassing mental justification for any action, past, present, future, or imaginary, guess what. That’s pretty much for sure a sign (stench?) of the stinge. Pull out your stinge-squirters and banish the suckers.
It is so hard to keep out the bad mojo without blocking the good since it rarely comes in bulk from one source; most people send out their own signature blend. That’s where the labeling comes in handy; at least, it has for me this week.
Anyone want to design a couple logos and make this easier for us all?