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:
- I have enough (probably too much) food to eat on a daily basis.
- I have a house that is heated to my satisfaction during the winter and cooled to my satisfaction during the summer.
- I 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.