Abundance. Lots of something. The accumulation of extra quantity. More than one needs. Plenty.
It is the dream of every lottery player: more money than they know what do with. It is the annual hope of every farmer: grain overflowing the silo. And it is the expectation of every summer cookout: lots and lots of food – more than can be consumed.
How do we acquire abundance? Extract more resources from our surroundings, right?
But inflation is up, things cost more, income levels have not risen at the same rate, it is impossible to acquire more when your dollar does not go as far. In our current economy, abundance is impossible.
Unless . . . you create resources ‘ex nihilo,’ ‘out of nothing.’ Creating resources seemingly out of thin air. According to the gospels, Jesus created abundance ‘ex nihilo’ all the time: feeding 5,000 with two loaves of bread and five fishes, turning water into wine, creating a net full of fish that simply wasn’t there before. Yes, you say, but he was divine. He had other ‘resources’ to draw from. Creating something from nothing is still impossible for mere mortals, right?
Wrong. Last Saturday, two adults and four teenagers walked up to a normally operating grocery store, the Milestone Giant, at 9:30 a.m. and, two and a half hours later, walked off with 380 food items: pasta, mac ‘n cheese, cereal, beans, etc. We didn’t pay for it, we didn’t steal it, we didn’t beg for it, and we did it all in broad daylight right out in front of the store. With the help of a friendly voice and a half-sheet paper explanation, we put an idea in their head (kudos to Cindy Majane, director of Germantown HELP).
Before you run and call the police, rest assured that Andy, Luca, and Greg Ramirez and Yorem & Adrianna De Rosa and I promptly turned it over that afternoon to the Germantown HELP food pantry’s shelves for distribution among the food-insecure of our community, and that, yes, the management knew we were coming. But the fact still remains: shoppers didn’t know we were coming, no one had any idea that they would add a few extra items to their grocery list – despite the painfully rising cost of groceries! – and drop them off in a cart on their way out, I doubt if most had any agenda of committing a random act of kindness that day, nor would they have necessarily missed us had we not shown up.
Something from nothing. It can happen. No magic tricks, no supernatural power, no conniving, no strong-arming, no geniuses on site. Just good will. Shared. Spread. Multiplied.
It can happen to you! I hope it does. Better yet, you can initiate it. Ask your Higher Power to help you create something from nothing today. For a neighbor. For a friend. For your community. For the world. It’s only a zero-sum world when we make it that way.