Our Hungry House
From the day we are born, we have the capacity to hunger. We hunger so that we can live, survive, thrive. But this hunger is not limited to food. No. This hunger takes us on a journey of want - a journey which extends to all corners of the earth, all corners of our life: a journey to build our hungry house, bigger and better, for the world to see.
A hungry house
Picture a modest house in a quiet neighborhood. That is what most of us desire before the tornado of wAant rips through our quiet little neighborhood. We see our neighbors rebuilding their homes a little bigger, more modern, more “desirable”. They don’t do this to necessarily prove a point, but a point is made, nonetheless. We see this new construction and our first inclination is that of envy. We want the new house they have built, with all its size, splendor, and modernity. Hungry with want, we hunger for the “meal” our neighbors now have in front of them.
Bigger is better
Right? Growing up, this tenant is taught to us right after the ABC’s. This tenant is not right or wrong, either, but it continues to carry such a weighty certainty. We grow up believing it has to be entirely true or false: there is no in-between. But why? Why can’t we break through our perceived altruistic barriers and acknowledge the reality of it all? Sometimes bigger is better, and that is perfectly fine.
So let’s come back to our hungry house, the one which always wants to be bigger, fancier, more modern. We want this so that the world looks at our house and in all its awesomeness. It is extremely shallow, yes, but we cannot deny our desires. Now some of you may be reading this and thinking, “This isn’t me at all! I never wanted a bigger house, a newer car, fancier clothing.” Be thankful for the peace you have found. Many of us have not yet found that peace. And for us, the search continues. We intellectually know that bigger does not always mean better, but our emotional half may have trouble being convinced by our intellectual half. Not uncommon at all.
Our hungry house grows
With each new paycheck, bonus, raise, we think of ways to utilize our new-found wealth. Do we invest, vacation, buy that expensive-something we always have our eye on? Metaphorically speaking (still), we likely take some of that new-found wealth and expand on our hungry house. We may build a new porch, add a basketball hoop to our driveway, maybe even hardscape the back patio. And if we are really fortunate, we will start on that extension to our kitchen that we have been dreaming of. A few extra square feet never hurt anyone, right? Maybe next year we will finally build that new addition which we will turn into the new workout room!
I’d like to flip the script on all of this. See, we all want the exterior of our house to be pristine. We all want the exterior of our house to be desired, to be envied. And perhaps that is just part of human nature. But while we build, cultivate, and expand our homes, we often forget that we need to furnish it, too. The more time we spend building out and up, the less time we have to actually fill our home with what really matters. The marrow of our lives resides inside our homes, not in the newly refinished driveway outside our garage door. We may not show off our stunning interior to every person on the block, and there is nothing wrong with that. Those who matter most to us know who we are; they know how we furnish, dust, and sweep the floors.
“I say this because of the importance we must place on the finer things in life.
In an ever-demanding society of “bigger” and “more”,
we must step back and remember that the most precious gems are those of delicacy,
not those with exude that tawdry stench to which we are so accustomed.”
~ A. Hanna
Inside our hungry house
Deep inside our hungry house, we thirst for more than simple square-footage and freshly manicured lawns. Deep inside our hungry house, we crave substance. We crave something that fills our belly a little more each time we take a step down the hallway. It isn’t what is on the outside that counts; it is what it is on the inside. So when you look around the block at all your neighbors putting up that new extension, don’t be envious. Know that you chose to invest in a few new place settings so that you can host the next holiday for your extended family.
Your neighbors may comment on their new upgrades, asking you how you like them. Don’t be rude. Smile, be honest with your feedback, and if you ever feel threatened, invite them over for dinner. You know you have spent your lifetime upgrading the places in your home that count the most. So don’t race to build the biggest house. Instead, confidently invest in what makes your house a home. It is good to be hungry. After all, from the day we are born, we have the capacity to hunger.
So stay hungry. Feed your hungry house by building where it fills your belly, not your ego.