When Facebook Makes Me Cry

It all started when I made the mistake of posting something political on my Facebook page. I've been known to talk about human rights quite a bit but my political posts have been veiled until now. Politics don't bring out the best in humanity and I have a hard time not getting sucked into it. My emotions get strong. My feelings get hurt. Let's face it: I get mean. I become flabbergasted by both the ignorance and the total lack of compassion that this brings out in people. People whom I know I disagree with fundamentally, but to whom I hope to extend an olive branch and listen to with an open mind.
I was already having a bad day. Penny was having one of those almost 3 year old mornings where she thought it was hilarious to do everything the opposite way from which I was asking her. It was exacerbated by the fact that we were in public the whole morning. I have a particularly hard time not feeling flustered when I feel like people are watching how I react to my child when she's being "persnickety." I felt emotionally exhausted. I felt overwhelmed by my child's inability to go with the flow. I felt isolated because every parent around us was interacting with their child in a way that looked a lot more simple and easy than what I was dealing with all morning. 
Then I logged onto my page and saw the "conversation" that unfolded, and continued to unfold throughout the day. Articles being thrown at me (to which I threw articles back...like I said, I was having a bad day). My work ethic called into question. Then my privilege. Then my greed. I start to get sucked in. The words are rising in my throat. I'm tempted to talk about the 18 year old car I've been driving for 15 years or how my husband I have can live on less than $40,000 a year as a family of 4 because we're so careful with money. I want to talk about our 2 bachelor's degrees that aren't putting us to work. I want to explain how we choose to live small because that's one of our essential values. I almost blurt out about how low our mortgage payment is because we played it very conservative when we got into the market 11 years ago and have never been tempted to "upgrade" from our "starter house." I start to get angry as I think about my husband getting up at 5:30 every morning working 2 jobs and how we still can't provide for ourselves without the government programs we're gratefully using because he's been looking for full-time work for 7 months and counting with no success. I want to talk about my small business that keeps my child out of daycare (fewer expenses!) giving us a 3rd income while doing what we believe is best for our child (this is not a judgment, this is actually what we believe about our specific child). I understand what it means to create something from nothing, to generate income from thin air. I understand the amount of motivation and drive it takes to work alone with a 2 year old in tow. I really, really do. 
I want to scream out that this is about us, yes, but the video I posted was about justice for all, access to quality education for all families, races, and socio-economic levels. How could this message of hope get twisted into laziness, self-interest and greed? I want to weep. In fact, I have. 
I've written about taming this beast, this rising voice of self-defense. This is not a new process for me. I have a strong sense of justice and it can make me a bit of a beast. I choose to call it advocacy :) But maybe I haven't given a full voice to the demons, the moment the words of shame come pouring in, the pain and horror that unkind words do when they come into your home on a bad day. I get it; politics are tough. And maybe this is my cue to bow out. Shit's gettin' ugly, people. 
I know I will require an extra dose of self-care after today's events. And my skin isn't very thick.
But I don't want to silence my voice (though I may need to do some unfriending). I know there's a benefit in putting a face to an ideology (granted, I thought my face would receive more respect than it was given today, but the world isn't as kind as I believe. I already knew that) and I'm not ashamed of my beliefs. I believe people need access to health care. I believe that all the poor kids should be fed and educated and have secure housing. I believe books should be in every home. I believe people should be able to fulfill their potential whether they were born in the country club or the ghetto. I believe people want to work and to find something worthwhile and fulfilling to do with their lives. I believe people who do good work, like teach our children, should also be able to have a comfortable retirement. And God help us, I believe people of all races and religions should be free and embraced in this country, not rounded up like a bunch of fucking terrorists. 
I believe in kindness. I do. If I'm not the best economist, ok. I'm cool with that. Let's let the economists put their beautiful brains to work. But what I do know is I will not be silenced. I will not bow down in worship to the almighty hate. I won't do it. So hate my government program-loving heart if you must. But know that I love my beliefs and those who hold them with integrity and with my own integrity fully intact. You don't have to agree with it. But you damn well better respect it. And I will do my best to respect our differences and above all, to temper my passion with kindness. And now if you'll excuse me, I gotta go log off Facebook for some much needed R & R.

What I've Learned in Therapy

I'm a big fan of therapy. I just had my last therapy session a few nights ago. I started weekly therapy 20 months ago when I had a 2 month old, a new kindergartener and very depressed husband. It was a dark time in our family. I cannot overstate how helpful therapy is. I recommend it all the time to people I love. 
My therapist, Natalie, did such a great service to me in that she taught me how to validate myself rather than create dependence on her validation of me. As I process the ending of my time in therapy (for now), I made a list of all the things I've learned in these 20 months. Some of it coincides with my time in therapy as it relates to the circumstances I've come through during that time, but most of it is a direct result of my time with Natalie. I am so proud of my work and so thankful for her facilitation of it.
1. I feel confident in myself again.
2. I identified my care-taking tendency.
3. I've learned to not live by my care-taking impulse but to recognize when I want to take on someone else's "stuff."
4. I've learned how to set boundaries in my relationships.
5. I've learned to prioritize myself.
6. I've learned to identify my feelings and validate them without judgment.
7. I've learned to identify my needs and validate them as well.
8. I've learned to give myself grace.
9. I've learned to identify my black & white thought patterns.
10. I've learned how to get out of the box I put myself in and how to get out of the ones others put me in too.
11. I've learned the value of self-care and the teeth-gritting challenge and discipline it requires for me to give it to myself (see #2).
12. I've learned it's okay to try new things even if I don't know if I'm good at them or if I will even enjoy them. (Process versus product).
13. I've learned that I possess the gift of vulnerability. It is a gift I can give to whomever I choose and that I don't owe it to anyone, even if I've given them that gift in the past.
14. I've learned to have compassion without taking ownership of what is triggering my compassion.
15. I've learned that it's okay to be human, that it was actually God's intent to make us that way. I don't need to overcome my humanity in order to be as God intended but to embrace it. 
16. I've learned that it's ordinary to not know stuff. The more honest you are about not knowing, the more you learn and find connecting points with others.
17. I've learned to climb off the ministry pedestal that I put myself on and that others insist I stay on. When I disappoint someone by doing this, it says more about them than it says about me.
18. I have learned how to decline taking tests others set up for me to prove my value.
19. I've learned that my personal growth can happen alongside my childrens. It's not them versus me. Moms learn stuff too.
20. I've learned to hold grief. I've learned to sit in pain.
21. I've learned to acknowlege my resentment while faithfully and strategically working to dismantle it.
22. I've learned to just keep waiting on and hoping for the things I can't control or change.
23. I've learned to walk away from safe places when they no longer feel safe.
24. I've learned the joy of surprise when new, unexpected safe places reveal themselves at just the right time.
25. I've been through a process of sifting through and fervently developing my personal values (see the whole series!), to stand by them, to defend them and to give myself grace when I can't master them.
26. I've learned that disagreement is not personal but judgment is.
27. I've learned to hold two realities when they exist rather than holding one and ignoring the other to do so (i.e. villanizing someone who hurt me in order to validate my pain).
28. I've learned to lower my standards for myself. My inner perfectionist finally got identified! (It's never too late, deniers!)
29. I've decided to take offense when others seek to tame me.
30. I've learned to hold perceived slights and triggering interactions for as long as I need to til I can respond rather than react. This often takes a long longer but leads to better conversation and fewer regrets.
31. I'm learning to extend grace to where I've been rather than just to where I'm heading. 
32. I've learned the immeasurable value of friendship. I am very rich indeed.
33. I've found that learning comes when I practice asking questions rather than telling answers.
34. I've learned to stay for just awhile longer when I really want to run.
35. I've learned to let people tell me who they are rather than insist or assume I already know. 
36. I've learned how to visit dark places without setting up house.
37. I've learned how to receive the love and care of my community, not as a sign of weakness, but as evidence of our mutual care and respect. Ex-ministers always want to be the helpers! It's not real love or community if you don't learn to receive without shame or reciprocation.
38. I've learned how to identify what drains my energy and to either avoid it (no is a great word) or account for that with added self-care as needed.
39. I've learned that I am an advocate and will engage in necessary conflict in order to create safety for victimized individuals.
40. I've learned that giving dignity is God's go-to response to shame.
41. I've learned that shit happens, that bad things aren't always a result of poor choices and that we are not in control.
42. I've learned that at the end of trauma, you're truly blessed if you find that your love has not been quenched by it. Even more so, if it's grown deeper because of it. This is truly a gift.

Of course, saying "I've learned" might give the impression that I have all these lessons mastered and in hand. Not so much. But I have grown tremendously and I am so, so grateful for the work I've done and for the support I've received. I can't believe the life-long impact 66 hours of therapy has had on me. These are gifts that I will re-open time and time again. Hug your therapist!!!!!

Motherhood is Full of Something...

Motherhood is full of a lot of things. It's heavy. It's wonderful. It's exhilarating. It's full of shit both literally every day (if not, kindly call your pediatrician) and figuratively on a bad day. Here are a few things I've learned as a mother. Kind of like a public service announcement, if you will. 
1. There is nothing more socially awkward than hanging out with a family who parents differently than you do. Whew. Kids constantly interrupt conversation between mothers enough without constant play intervention from us. But not enough intervention is awful too. Nothing is worse than when another kid makes your child cry and their parent does absolutely nothing about it. Motherhood does require some homogeny to survive whether we want to admit it or not. 
2. Being a mother is really hard and really easy. It's hard because everyone has an opinion and seems to relish dumping it on mothers all around them. Many of those opinions are not shared by the mother, but the shame is still palpable and makes us feel defensive. To me, unless a child is in immediate danger or the mother is actually asking for advice, keep your freaking mouth shut or offer grace and understanding. It's easy because being with your kids and talking with them, living life with them, sharing with them (unless it's expensive chocolate) is really natural and lovely most of the time. And when it's not, it's just because you need a break.
3. Kids are suprisingly human. Meaning, they aren't as moldable as we were led to believe. Yes, we can shape their environment, their exposure to ideology, the imposed consequences to certain behaviors. But that's honestly about it. Their personality, their instincts, their decisions are their own and they start in the womb, dude. It's pretty bad ass, actually. Children cannot be controlled (unless they are being abused) and I find that fascinating, wonderful and at times, infuriating. It takes the pressure off having to make them be anything. They will be whoever they will be. We control ourselves, that's it. I have found that accepting this reality and empowering them to become whoever they are supposed to be is my ultimate goal as a mother.
4. I don't really worry about the future. I know. It's weird. But whenever I find myself spiraling in fear or needing to be in control of things I cannot control, it's because I'm borrowing trouble. "If I let them do this now, how much worse will everything be then?" Eh, let's deal with that then. So, I'm focusing on mothering 7 year old Macy and 1 year old Penny. And frankly, dealing with my own shit.
5. Speaking of, motherhood does not put all your own shit on the back burner. It informs your parenting because you're a person and people have "stuff." This is not because of some failure on our parts. It's on purpose. It's part of releasing control. We can't control them and deal with all our own stuff. Trying to control your children can be a great distraction from addressing our own pain, baggage and lack of direction as adults. Don't let it. It breeds resentment, a lack of confidence on their part and ultimately, doesn't work.
6. Plants seeds. One of the things we do get to shape is their initial exposure to how the world works. Of course, life happens to children too and eventually, they will sift through all the values we teach them and dump some and cherish others. But until that happens, teach your children the mindset you wish to see more in the world. Macy and I talk regularly about the value of all people, tolerance in regard to gender and orientation spectrum, the beauty of all skin colors, ownership of her body, sexuality, taking care of the planet, feeding the poor, honesty, and giving yourself grace. These are things that matter deeply to me. If you want your child to live in a more _________ (insert value here) world, teach them to be that person. I love being able to change the world by teaching my children these values.
7. It's okay. It's okay to not know what to do. It's okay to screw up. It's okay to feel overwhelmed, angry, exhausted. No one should have to raise a child alone. It's not fair to the parent or the child. Lean on your partner if you have one. Call your parents and your in-laws. Talk to other parents. Use a babysitter. Parents are better when we take ownership of our own humanity and accept that we are learning as we go and we have real needs. A healthy household acknowledges that it's not the parent or the child that needs to be taken care of. It's a balance. Parents take care of themselves and their children. It's not a fight to see who wins.
That's all for now. I guess the best thing I can say we give our children is us. Be yourself. It's enough. 

Sometimes I Really Miss the Box

I've always been an adventurous person. I've been on many wild trips around the world. If you haven't sat me down to tell you stories, you'll have to ask me someday about the time I got chased down by creepy men in Mexico because of my long blonde hair or the time I was mistaken for a prostitute on my 19th birthday in Paris. How about the time I thought I could go ice climbing in Interlaken, Switzerland and instead spent the afternoon on the back of a moped with a would-be Abercrombie model. Remember the 10 days I spent singing in a band on the streets of Russia when I was 14? Or the countless nights I've spent on a benches in foreign train stations and on the floor of British airports. I've got anecdotes about clubbing at gay clubs in London and the summers I've slept in tents for weeks at a time in Northern Ireland with unshowered teenaged boys. How about when I ate only gelato for an entire weekend in Venice without getting sick or when I almost flew through the window of a bus in Argentina? The list goes on and on. I absolutely love being out of my element, flying by the seat of my pants and just seeing what happens. This is greatly juxtaposed by my rule-following, religious perfectionism and care-taking. It's really hard to live inside a box (narrow theology) and outside of it (wandering sojourner). I've waffled between the two my whole life. 
Theologically, I'm very much living into that adventurous spirit and running far, far away from any boxes at all. But on days like today, when I'm still in my pajamas at noon, caring for a fussy toddler and trolling through my Facebook feed, sometimes that damn box nostalgia kicks in and I feel sad. 
I went to private school all through my childhood, culminating in a high school experience that was a real faith high. It's a time in my life filled with treasured memories, wonderful friends and a total certainty about Jesus. This world is a place where "Jesus" is everywhere, where struggle always has a purpose and where everything fits together. Everything is viewed through the lens of faith and nothing works outside of it. Sometimes I really wish that had been enough for me. I genuinely do. I see pictures of old friends children dancing excitedly on a stage with "Jesus" scrawled on the wall behind them. Dancing for Jesus looks so fun and safe. His name comes up in every conversation. He pertains to your day, your politics, your health, your relationships. (If this sounds like I'm mocking this life, I'm really not. I'm being genuine when I say I miss it and I in no way judge the faith or lives of these people.) I remember when I saw him everywhere. There was a certain comfort in having his name written on the back of every puzzle piece of my life. Somehow everything really did fit together.
I don't deny that Jesus could be in the childrens dancing. In fact, I wrote a piece not long ago that clearly stated my awe and reverent feelings witnessing the community experience of my daughters school performance. And I'm not saying God won't someday put the pieces of our lives together in a beautiful tapestry that suddenly makes sense. It would be pretty amazing if he did. I'm just no longer operating under that assumption. That's just not how I view the world; it's not how I frame my experiences or how I fit together the stories of people all around me. I'm not going to force my Jesus stake in the ground and declare a parcel of land for myself. I'm not in a place to authoritatively put his name on my choices, my views and my circumstances. I don't want to pull out Bible verses at the ready and speak with confidence about how everyone should be living their lives. I'm not sure what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, so why would I put that on other people? 
Perhaps this is the difference between faith and hope. "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." (NLT, Heb. 11:1). I hope God is here. I really, really do. I think he is. Am I confident that everything I hope for will come to pass? No. I'm not sure how we can truly be confident about that which we cannot fully know, see or experience in the present. But man, do I hope. Oh, I hope for so many things! And like any deeply-held hope, these things shape the way I see the world and how I live my life.
Above all, I hope that God is good. Man, I really hope that's true. That's the one that I base all my other hopes on. I hope that God made me human on purpose, that his love and my humanity are enough for Him, that I don't have to be ashamed of myself or pressure myself to be more than I am. I hope that the Jesus who loved the pariahs and called out the proud elite is still relevant. I hope that being a good neighbor, accepting and loving myself and living into my personal values brings good into a sometimes very shitty world. I hope working on my own emotional and spiritual baggage will benefit my precious daughters and the world by extension. I hope gay people were made by God as gay as the day is long, that he does not condemn that which he has made inherent and that they will be given the dignity, equality and justice they deserve as human beings. I hope that blacks and whites can come together as two sides of the same coin, having been made equal and beautiful humans. I hope that we learn to identify ourselves in our racial power struggle and fight for equality, even when that means admitting we're part of the problem. I hope everyone experiences the glory and the all-encompassing grace and love of God whether in this life or the next, that all that has been lost will be made whole, complete and perfect in the end. 
I may not live in total confidence and assurance, but living in hope has become enough for me. Don't be afraid to step out of the box if those walls start to close in on you. I really do believe that God is big enough and exists outside of all the lines we want to draw on his behalf. Perhaps there's hope for all of us after all. 

Be a Joiner

One of the values Tim and I both are enjoying living into so much is what I'm going to call Participating*. I was sheltered as a child from the world around me, including my neighbors. This was not intentional, per se, but we lived in a wealthy neighborhood and everyone pretty much kept to themselves. We went to private Christian schools, predominantly outside of our neighborhood and participated in daily bus trips or carpools in order for my parents to live into one of their highest values, private education.
When it became time for Tim and I to decide how we were going to educate our children, we decided to go with public school for a number of reasons. Financially, we were in the same position as my parents were. We could afford to privately educate our children but it would hurt. A lot. If that was a high priority of ours, I know we would find a way to make it work financially, just as my parents did (we had a very leaky roof when I was little. Luckily, it rarely rains in San Diego!) What we decided was that we really wanted to participate in our neighborhood life. What better way to do that than to put our precious children alongside theirs to learn at school every day. I know a lot of Christians who care very much about assimilating into their neighborhood and being a real presence there. Do it! This is one of the ways we chose to participate. If education isn't where you want to do it, there are other ways for sure. Be home on Halloween for Trick or Treaters. Host block parties, holiday parties, garage sales, whatever sounds fun. There's no wrong way to be a good neighbor. One of the best ways to be a good neighbor is to be home and to answer the door when people knock. (This will probably be another value discussed in the future).
We've lived in the same townhouse for 9 and a half years. We love it! Our cul de sac is tiny and most of our neighbors have been here as long as we have or longer. Our kids ride their bikes in the street and everyone looks out for each other. I called the fire department when our neighbors smoke detector didn't turn off a few years back. Our next door neighbor called the cops when one of our teen girls was getting beat down by another high school girl in the street. We all came out. We got involved. We all stand up for each other. We've got each others backs. I can't help but wonder if part of that is because we aren't wealthy. This is probably my own prejudice speaking. But there's a certain group mentality that comes from actually needing each other, asking to borrow things we don't have, sharing our resources and being in each others lives that I did not experience growing up on an affluent street as a child.  
One of the teachers reading to the kids.
As you can imagine, this has greatly affected our public school experience. Our school is a Title 1 school, which means we get extra funding because we're considered poor (this was a funny realization for us since we've always felt incredibly blessed). The teachers are committed, well-educated and just all around kick-ass at their jobs. Macy's first grade class is 50% ESL students. It's a great, close-knit, diverse school environment. Macy's education has been fantastic (I've found that often Christian schools are more focused on protecting children in a "safe" environment than giving them a better education). I've been impressed by the moral values emphasized in the schools behavioral expectations as well as the consistency with which they deal with infractions. Everything is clear, streamlined and fair. At Curriculum Night this year, I was blown away by the Class Pledge Macy's teacher had created with the children's input. It read, "In our class we try our best to be respectful to each other. We are nice and kind and think of other peoples hearts. We are friends with everyone and we try to share. We help each other out and cheer each other on. This is our promise to ourselves and each other." Can you imagine if this was posted on our streets, in our stores, in church, on government buildings...This would change the world. And you know what? It is changing the world, with these 21 1st graders who read it every day in class.  
Waiting to sing!
When you go to a school event after hours, the PTA is there, the principal, many teachers, the community liason (she helps families with financial needs) and a gang of parents and kids. In the 15 months we've been involved with our school, we've participated in fundraisers, book fairs, a family dance, Thanksgiving feasts, Back to School nights, Curriculum Nights, conferences, performances, skate nights, bingo nights - you name it. Last night, Macy and I attended the school Barnes & Noble Book Fair. Barnes & Noble hosts the whole school (during normal business hours) and they give the school 20% of all purchases made by participants back to the school. The children display their artwork. Many classes sing and dance. There are trivia games between parents and kids. We even had a renown illustrator there to speak and sign books for the kids. As you can see from the photos, this is not really a conducive environment for such an event. But we don't have an auditorium at our school to accommodate all the parents and kids. So, for our school Seuss-themed holiday night, we sat on the floor of Barnes & Noble with children standing on blue tape lines 3 inches in front of kids sitting in the audience. 
Sorry it's blurry - trying to inconspicuously capture the parents.
We had a boom box playing the accompaniment. We had children in sweatpants, fancy gowns and everything in between. Faces streaked with cheesecake samples from the baristas, these beautiful, messy children sang their hearts out about the Grinch, Christmas, family and love. I gotta tell you guys, I was a freaking mess. What a beautiful experience! All of us crammed in together celebrating community, love, life and children. Turns out, the accommodations weren't amazing when Jesus was making his way out of teenage Mary's birth canal either. But his entrance was grand in all the mess and beautiful chaos that I can only imagine ensued. (Mary AMAZES me but that's a side note). 
Macy proudly showing the gift she made to decorate the walls.
This is my community. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Participate in the world all around you. It's ripe for the taking. It's easy to think, "they don't need me. Last night would have gone on even if I hadn't come." That's true, except if every person there had the same idea, those hard-working music teachers, art teachers, principals, children and awesome Barnes & Noble workers would have done all their work for nothing. No books purchased on behalf of the school. No one to impress with Seuss-themed artwork. No one to clap while they danced and sang. Your community wants your participation. It's the better for it. And so are you.

* If you're unfamiliar with my series on personal values, see my previous posts on honesty, kindness, sharing, giving dignity and decency

Be Decent

Alrighty, I'm back on track with my series on personal values. If you're playing catch up, so far I've discussed honesty, kindness, sharing and giving dignity. The purpose of this series is to talk about all the things I am working towards, rather than just telling you what I'm not doing in this season of my life (going to church). Spiritual growth is not always about taking things away but about adding in things as well. While I was taught these things to take away or add in were specific behaviors, I'm learning now to focus on developing a personal set of values instead. These are the things I value (as opposed to the evangelical focus on "not sinning"), the things I strive to live into. I do not anticipate "arriving" at these as if they are static destinations but instead, these are things I hope to access when I need to have or be them. 
Today I'd like to talk about human decency. I briefly mentioned the concept of scarcity in my post about feeling frozen in this weird season of stay-at-home parenting and I think it plays into this idea of decency. As Americans (though this is definitely also a general human thing) we have some sort of deep seated fear in not having enough, not being enough, not doing enough, etc. We also have a subconscious belief that everything is in limited quantity, so you better "get yours" before someone else does. This fear is what causes us to compete with others. This fear is what keeps us working well past a normal amount of time per week and with very little time off per year (we work way more than other developed countries). This is why we are constantly buying stuff when we have garages full of stuff we're not using. This is why we like the idea of "starter homes". 
There are some very serious consequences to this kind of life. We consume because we don't know how to be content, to sit still, to accept that we are enough, have enough and will continue to be enough. This level of consumption is detrimental to the world around us. We consume WAY MORE than our share of energy and water, in such a disproportionate amount based on our population in comparison to other countries. We actively contribute to the sweat shops in China and other countries because we just cannot get enough. People die because of our fear of scarcity.  We have a ton of debt. We have high incidences of anxiety, depression, stress-related diseases. We eat more than our share and are unhealthy because of it. We add chemicals to our food so we can make more and more and more. This is making us sicker. We claim to be be the "land of the free" but I think this lifestyle of more, more, more makes us more in bondage than we're willing to admit. It's so incredibly stressful to live this way. 
I believe decency is the answer to this problem. Let's begin taking only what we actually need, leaving more for our neighbors and for the world at large. This includes eating the food we buy at the grocery store before it goes bad, wearing our clothes until they are worn or giving them to someone rather than throwing them away. Let's start buying used items, so we stop making everything new, when we have so many of them already made that are just gathering dust or filling our land fills. Let's live under budget so we can rest peacefully at night. Let's enjoy food to the fullest, but stop eating when we get full. 
We don't need to keep taking more than we need. I struggle to talk about this because it feels like I'm saying we should take less than we need and I am not at all saying that. If your family qualifies for government assistance, I think you should take it. If your job offers you a raise, enjoy the extra money. Eat good food and enjoy a glass of wine. I'm not talking about not enjoying ourselves. I'm talking about not being so damn greedy, with no regard for how our consumption affects others (don't even get me started on our how sexual addictions lead to the trafficking of kids and adults).
Take what you need. Enjoy the bounty. We are privileged and that's okay. But be decent in the process.