ABUNTTONY. That’s a new word whose genesis came as a nagging spark as Val and I walked through a Wegman’s. Wegman’s is a chain of very fine, huge, supermarkets, not unlike many supermarkets in their abundance of offerings, but on steroids. Articles I recently read about villagers in Africa needing to carry a bucket or jug hours to a working well for water circulated in my awareness as I looked at the long row of drinks that aren’t even good for a person.
Abunttony is a combination of abundance and gluttony; easy access in abundance to something we don’t need and is of questionable value to us. It stands in stark contrast to another new word, lack of everything. Shopping amidst abunttony creates its own stress. Twice in the last week, I came across references to a 1995 study of jam “choosing” by Sheena Iyengar, a professor of business at Columbia University. The finding was essential that too many choices resulted in people making no choice because it was too stressful to decide among more than around a half-dozen choices.
My purpose isn’t to raise feelings of guilt or to ridicule our abundant choices and comparatively easy access to those choices. Rather, thankfulness for whatever we have, energizing stewardship and compassionate sharing would be a healthy response to abunttony. It is difficult to not be infused with thankfulness when an image of those not so blessed offers a contrast to what we have. When, in thanksgiving, we embrace our stewardship of God’s creation, such thankfulness then leads to sharing of at least a portion from our abunttony with those who live in a lack of everything.