Monday, April 26, 2010


I imagine that as we get older, the things for which we're willing to sacrifice get larger or of more significance. When I was a child, I sacrificed visits to the ice cream truck to save up for an American Girl Doll (does that give away how old I am?). When I was an exchange student, I sacrificed conditioner and razors for train tickets. When we first entered the working world, we sacrificed cable to save up for a house. Now...I find myself sacrificing my social life to pay for dog therapy.

Yes, dog therapy. Recently, we adopted a second puppy (Buster), and everything was hunky dorey until his balls dropped. Then Maybe, the older dog, decided that if we weren't going to remove him from her life, she would do it herself. So we hired a militant dog whisperer, and now our dogs wear leashes constantly and are verboten from getting on the furniture and live virtually separate lives. In the last six months, Maybe has gone from attacking him once every five minutes to once every 30. Astronomical.

I suppose I just started realizing that maybe I've gotten too caught up in my yuppiness. We're childless and have full time jobs and buy most of our groceries from Whole Foods. I'm definitely in a bubble most of the time. I can't imagine many other things that are more superfluous than dog therapy.

All this and we don't pay a full tithe. We used to, and when we were in a much lower tax bracket than we are now. I'll admit it because I don't think we're alone. I think lots of people get caught up in the things we think we need, and leave little room for imparting our earthly gifts upon others. Lately I've been trying to examine my spirituality and community, and I've found my progress thwarted by my "things." It's pathetic, and I'm frequently disappointed in myself. Despite my best efforts to ignore fashion and vanity, I still stand in my closet (yes, "in") and pout at my clothes. I find myself pining over pots and pans in Williams-Sonoma catalogs. I drool over expensive bottles of wine at the Cork and Bottle. When did I decide these things were important? Obviously, I've lost some of my focus. None of these things are really ours, anyway. I apply that mantra via my environmental philosophy; it should also be part of my spiritual philosophy.

I'm not saying I'm going to stop everything and pay a full 10% to my church; it would be a stretch. Further, I don't think tithing should all go to any one church. There are plenty of other noble causes that could use a little help. I'm also not saying everyone else should either. I can't speak for everyone's financial situations, and it's not my place to determine anyone else's ability. I am saying I'm going to reconsider some of our priorities (like dog therapy), and perhaps restructure those priorities so that when I meet my Maker, I'm not all like, "Oh, I totally wanted to, but helping Maybe's dog aggression and Buster's poo eating problem was more important."

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