There is love enough in this world for everybody, if people will just look. –Kurt Vonnegut
I was shocked to learn recently that Uganda is one of the most resource-rich countries in Africa. Foolishly, I’d a assumed that, because of the intense poverty and instability in that country, Uganda surely struggled from a lack of basic resources. Not so. Uganda has arable land and substantial oil and mineral deposits, yet the average annual income of $300 per year is half the average for sub-Saharan Africa, a region that includes countries with far fewer resources and yet higher standards of living.
The problem is one of economics, political instability, repression, and corruption. In Uganda, there’s more than enough resources to sustain a basic standard of living; the political environment is such that those resources cannot be used to produce and sustain the well-being of Ugandans.
When it comes to the matter of love, we make a similar mistake: When it’s lacking in our lives we assume the problem is a question of lack of supply. We operate as though we live in a world where love is a scarce resource and therefore love most be squandered.
But love is all around us. Giving it is a fundamental capacity of being human.
Love is a relational activity, not a commodity. When squandered, it ceases to exist. It’s something we must do. When we attempt to understand love in brutish economic terms, we fail to see that we live in a world of plenty, if only we would look.
Right in front of you.
All too often therapy patients will sit in my office and exclaim, “I don’t have anyone who cares about me.” To which I give my, “Who-am-I, chopped-liver?” response.
Apparently I don’t count.
Or they’ll say it in group. (Are we chopped liver?)
We don’t count.
When it comes to love, the problem we run into is believing there isn’t enough of it. When we believe this, we fail to work to give expression to that love. This valuable resource, one which exists all around us, goes underutilized.
Sounds like a corrupt system to me.