What Do You Have?

A trip to the East Coast challenged my thinking about socio-economics.

The sign said, "Private."

I had been warned about signs like these before I arrived.  In fact, I have seen signs like these in the past when I have been on the East Coast because there are all kinds of properties on which others are not allowed. I did not expect to react to the sign the way that I did on my recent vacation in Rockport, MA. When I saw it for the first time, I thought that I could just let it go. I thought that I would simply ignore it. I thought that I could walk away and not feel anything.

But this time I was so angry …

I was not angry because the sign was there. I was not angry that I could not do as I pleased and continue my walk in another direction with equally beautiful views. I was not angry about what it said. I was angry about what it implied.

Those who can put up signs such as these tend to be those who have. They have something valuable enough to protect behind a sign such as this. They have; therefore, they protect. And the sign implied that I was not someone who has; therefore, I must be a have not. And that thought made me angry.

I want to be someone who has. I want to be a have!

As I walked along the public footpath (for those who do not have), I came to a sobering and humbling realization about myself and my reaction to this sign. 
I am a have. 

To say otherwise would be ridiculous when you consider the following:

  • have enough (probably too much) food to eat on a daily basis.
  • have a house that is heated to my satisfaction during the winter and cooled to my satisfaction during the summer.
  • have (and so does my husband) a job.

And the list could go on … and in considering the list, I realized that I do not want to be a have. I want to be a have more. It is not those who have who put up signs like this because I am a have, and I have nothing valuable enough (like a potentially AMAZING view of the Atlantic Ocean from my backyard—yes, still struggling with this!) to put up a sign that keeps people away from my valuable things. But those who have more than I do are in that situation which is clearly shown by these types of signs.

Please do not comment that this is a normal reaction due to human nature and that it is reasonable for me to respond this way. Sure—I’ll buy that it is normal human behavior to have what we want. It’s called sin, and it is not reasonable at all. It is thankless and selfish for me to consider myself a have not when I am clearly a have

In fact, I think – were I truly a have not and were reading this post – I would be upset with me after reading all that I have.

What I mean to say is that I need to be thankful for what I have and not to want more than what I need. I am not condemning those who have more in this post either—please don’t hear that. But whatever we have, we are responsible to use well. What I have—what more I have than I need for daily use—needs to be used well. I need to consider how best to use the resources I have.

More than that, though, I really needed this lesson in thankfulness because I am so clearly a have.

How do we stay content with what we have when we are confronted with those who seem to have more? How do we walk away from the temptation to follow what the have mores are doing when we do not have the resources but might have the credit to do so? How can we use what we have to better the lives of those who have not?

These were the questions that plagued me throughout my time of rest … and I hope that they continue to plague me even when I am miles away from these signs.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Laurie Buck August 02, 2012 at 05:56 AM
Kind of reminds me of this: Signs Signs Everywhere there's signs Blocking up the scenery Breaking up my mind Do this Don't do that Can't you read the sign? And the sign says "Anybody caught trespassing will be shot on sight" So I jumped the fence and I yelled at the house What gives you the right? To put up a fence And keep me out Or to keep Mother Nature in If God was here He'd tell it to your face Man You're some kind of sinner.. And the sign says "Everybody welcome Come in Kneel down and pray" But then they passed around a plate at the end of it all And I didn't have a penny to pay So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign I said Thank you Lord for thinking about me I'm alive and doing fine... (Songwriters: CRADDOCK, BRIAN / NADOLSKI, DAVID MICHAEL / NADOLSKI, MATTHEW JOSEPH)
Stacy Bender August 02, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Great thoughts so far! Thank you so much for reading and for responding. :) Amy: your last line is completely convicting. There is a follow up post coming...
Barry L. August 13, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Hi, grew up in Beverly Mass, born in Salem. The signs that you read are very common ...I could not understand it either but private signs are also on lakes in Minnesota / WI mean the same..I was just on Bone Lake, Luck WI and very lucky a friend on a cabin with 200 foot lake frontage and guess what..There are signs along waters edge too keep off, so it is just not one area of the country, it is the HAVES that will always have...just like the ST Croix, Hubbard broadcasting knock off a hill and built a mansion over looking the River and takes his 100 foot yacht up to Stillwater for dinner...Talk about carbon foot print...count me in with the want to have but thankful for what I have...and I am rich with Family and friends...the wants...I can wait for that Lottery ticket winning!
Stacy Bender August 13, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I lived in Bev-ah-lee for 4 yrs. Love it! And I agree about the lakes...
Barry L. August 13, 2012 at 07:45 PM
What part of Bev a lee? I lived ikn Ryal Side and was raised on 25 Rowell Ave, near Livingston and Bridge Street, now live in Richfield...love the pace of life after leaving Beverly I lived in 14 different states...and found Minnesota home, not the push or shove opf the east cost, Or How I call it EAST COAST LOVE...miss chez steaks, little neck clams. The clam box and Pizza...here is my email address: drop me a line barry0404@yahoo.com


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