I have not been a Black Friday shopper ever since I used to work in retail. Although I would go out with the family and grab lunch or look around, it was a rare occasion that I would head out early and brave the crowds while I muscle my way into a store. When our children were little, my husband did head out at 4 a.m. to get a special electronic gift for our son, but in general I have tried to avoid the shopping frenzy. Part of my reasoning to minimized my Black Friday shopping has come from my many years of working in retail and from working on Black Friday. Crazy is even crazier from the other side of the cash register.
The practice if detachment is spiritual practice. Their may be some people who are called to rid themselves of all material goods but detachment is not just about or for those in a religious order. Just as their are different ways to approach our prayer life based on our state of life – we approach the practice of detachment in different ways. The Church teaches that we can serve the Lord and grow in holiness through many ways. But St. Paul also tells us that the Christian engaged in secular activities must inwardly detach from them: “those who have wives should live as though they have none . . . buyers should conduct themselves as if they owned nothing, and those who make use of the world as though they were not using it, for the world as we know it is passing away.” (I Cor 7:29-31)
Detachment is a response to God’s love for us. When you fall in love, everyone else in your life pales beside the beloved. You change your schedule and your priorities.
Putting Paul’s advise from first century Palestine into practice in 21st century America can be tough. Having news reports and ads constantly telling you that you are missing out leave you feeling like you really are missing out but I try to remember that I have enough. Their is this little anxiety thing that happens. It is a cross between feeling like you are missing out because you are not spending money and the fear of not having enough or being enough. This year I am even more apprehensive to fall into the spend just to spend frenzy that happens in theses days after Thanksgiving. Long term financial security is uncertain as I work through my next career move and though I am looking forward to the time off to enjoy the holidays I do have the realization that my life seems to give me time when I have no money.
Sticking to our holiday buying budget is always important but this year we will be trying to put our spending to where it is most important. That may mean that if the must have item is 50% off today only, I will brave the elements to get the deal but work really hard not to fall into buying the impulse item sitting next to it. I am focusing on my time I get to spend with family and recognizing that my time is a gift as I try to be thankful for all I already have.