“Oh I don’t need a big house like everyone else . I don’t want a big grand foyer or a huge closet. All I want is a cottage, with real wood windows. A garden out back, with antique roses climbing over the gate. I don’t need all this fancy stainless steel that people like today. I would rather have a simple kitchen with just some vintage appliances.”
“People today really like a lot of junk food. Not me. All I want is really fresh, local food. Like our grandmothers had. Like an apple at the peak of ripeness, picked off the tree at just the right time. Or a cow butchered by a local farmer, where you know it had a good life. Some local cheese. It is so good that you only need a little bit.”
“Women today sure love to shop. They must be really bored. All I want is some simple, well made clothing. Yes, I look for quality. Just plain colors, and natural materials. I got rid of all my cheap tee shirts and now I have nice, versatile pieces.”
And then, from C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters:
“…She is always turning from what has been offered to her to say with a demure little sigh and a smile, ‘oh please, please… all I want is a cup of tea, weak but not too weak, and the teeniest weeniest bit of really crisp toast.’ You see? Because what she wants is smaller and less costly than what has been set before her, she never recognizes as gluttony her determination to get what she wants, however troublesome it may appear to others. At the very moment of indulging her appetite she believes she is practicing temperance…”
C.S. Lewis is using this fictional women to describe how a demon can help her along the road to hell, by wrapping up her sin in a cloak of righteousness. The woman believes she is denying herself but is being more gluttonous than anyone because she is valuing her preferences over the comfort of others.
It doesn’t matter that what she wants is “simple”. She wants something other than what she was given.
I am so, so guilty of this!
Trying this year to be happy with what I have. Not buying beautiful glass jars for my kitchen in an attempt to be a thrifty housewife with a well stocked pantry. Not turning up my nose at McMansions, or McDonalds. Trying to control my tendency towards pride wrapped in humility, consumerism disguised as simple living, gluttony hiding as denial.
I bought this apple tree. But I tried not to pretend I was doing it for the greater good of humanity.