"Want is a growing giant whom the coat of Have was never large enough to cover."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
This week, I have been pondering the phrase, "Enough is enough."
On the surface, that phrase could not be simpler - noun, verb, adjective.
But, like most oversimplifications, it provides impetus to some very interesting questions:
How do we determine enough? Is it a line drawn in the sand: over here I am wanting, but on the other side I am replete? Or is it more like the slow transition of color found in a skein of Noro yarn: a subtle shift so gradual that it does not register as such until we arrive at a new paradigm, turn around and wonder how we got here?
Do we always know when we have reached "enough?" Or, like our stomachs, do we need a brief period to register fullness?
If enough is enough, then is too much of a good thing...
Wonderful? Bad? Or something in between?
And who determines precisely how much we need, versus how much we want? Ourselves? Our families? Our government? (God forbid...) Our faith?
When is "enough" enough?
A few years back, my friend Greg and I had an interesting discussion pursuant to the book we were working on at the time. He posited that every one of us is prone to one of the seven deadly sins more than the other six.
For those not up to date on their vices, the "seven deadlys" read as follows:
After some carefull consideration, I determined that "my" sin was gluttony. And not the kind that sends so many into eating disorders. No, mine was a more generalized gluttony.
- The kind that stockpiles toilet paper, just in case...
- The kind that buys two pairs of jeans instead of one, because they might stop making the ones that fit me...
- The kind that collects enough sock yarn to properly clothe the sixth regiment...
- The kind that has over 20 designs in process (Hmmm... DIPs, as opposed to WIPs... how appropriate...)
- The kind that orders two scoops instead of one...
- The kind that will throw herself under a train for a friend, but forget to return a phone call...
- The kind that will stay up all night to finish a project or a book...
- The kind that burns the house down around her, while she focuses single-mindedly, obsessively and above all, exclusively, on the task at hand...
- The kind that doesn't know how to say, "enough" and doesn't know the meaning of the word, "moderation"...
My life is a constant struggle: for balance, for perspective, for the ability to say...
And move on.
This week, two of my friends have experienced issues with sufficiency. Kim has been dyeing noon and night to keep up with the demand for kits of MD/AN. So what do I do? I design a scarf and send her more business. Not that she isn't happy for it; she is.
But she went into this (at my instigation, I might add) before she had enough (yarn). And then, in the blink of an eye, or the click of a mouse, she had too much (orders) and it wasn't always wonderful. So she put on the brakes for a few days this week, shutting down the Woolen Rabbit until supply could catch up with demand.
Enough was enough. And she knew when and how and why she reached that point. All things in moderation... I admire her for knowing when she had reached that point. There is more to life than yarn, after all.
(Wait a minute; forget I said that; don't want to be
Kim's slow-down allowed me time to take a deep breath as well. I have been working 14 hour days recently, neglecting much of the rest of my life in the process.
Whoops! There's that gluttony things rearing its ugly (to say nothing of overstuffed) head again: If one is good, then two is better, and three would be best of all...
In a few days, balance will be restored, minds and hands will be rested, and we will both be better able to meet the needs and challenges of our chosen calling.
Consider it a brief sabbatical. We will be back shortly...
Others are not so lucky.
Ravelry, and the world in general, lost someone last week: 56 years old, to an aneurysm, which came on, by all accounts, both suddenly and unexpectedly. (AZ knitter) Trish's death seems to have touched so many people, especially my new friend Vi who has struggled mightily this week to make some sort of sense from the senseless.
While never having met Trish, I had exchanged private messages with her. She was a member of our KAL and was looking forward to the publication of Magic Carpet, so she could start with something smaller. One day, she was asking me questions; the next day, she was gone.
And though I have experienced the loss second hand, I find I have been deeply moved by her passing, and the way it has destabilized what seemed like security, and safety, and assurance that the world would unfold according to our plan.
It is not necessarily a bad thing to realize our finite state and own up to our powerlessness. After all, that is how we come to faith. If we did not need, perhaps we would not want.
But, when this knowledge comes at the cost of a friend, a wife, a mother, we wind up in the shadows, asking, "Why?"
- "Why her?"
- "Why here?"
- "Why now?"
As with all sudden losses, she left us wanting more.
- More laughter
- More love
- More friendship
- More joy
- More hope
- More faith
Because sometimes, there is no such thing as "enough."