Have You Had Enough?

What is enough? A satisfied sigh, perhaps, or a disappointment and frustration that shames? Is it a line in the sand drawn to state clearly that the inadequacy of a situation or circumstance is untenable? is it an untested conviction of how things should be rather than how they are or how they have always been?

Have You Had EnoughEnough is an existential quality or quantity. It is hard to pin down exactly, for it is finite only with respect to what we know and when we know it. Interestingly, we may be satisfied with our circumstance only to be presented with new information that prompts a reordering of our assessment, and hence acceptance or rejection of earlier convictions, positions and predispositions.

We bring reason and an analytic mind to help sort the important matrices of numbers and facts, but there are subjective issues like beauty, gut feelings, premonition, and superstition, and others which affect the decisions we make as we seek to decide what enough is. We don’t just want to correctly infer conclusions, we want to change outcomes for efficiency, fairness, and hope. The arc of history, as Martin Luther King, said, bends towards justice, but perhaps not without our recognition and understanding of what enough is.

Enough is an interesting concept rather than an empirical thing. Its like the horizon, a special coordinate imprecise but rooted in a belief of a better way or a brighter day. It battles the skeptics and doubters within and without, reaching for goals and outcomes that affirm not only our struggle but the unquenchable spirit within us that knew, long before our analytic mind that more and enough is possible.

If enough is defined in terms of inadequacy or mistreatment or misperception of our selves, with respect to others, we aid in sabotaging the tactics we employ to bring about change. This is a strange idea but empowers us to understand that enough is not only subjective and relative but participatory. We do not get to `enough` without defying the status quo while simultaneously embracing the horizon and dreams we have for ourselves. Essentially, we are coming to grips with the idea of limits. Limits that others put on us. Limits that we put on ourselves and finding that as we challenge the seaming inevitability and hopelessness of our circumstances; they are illusionary. This is liberating.

Looked at from this perspective, enough refers not only to what is, but what is possible as we participate in the change we want. For this idea suggests to me that famine, drought and discord of a time, place or event can be made worse or prevented by our will and resolve.

We are basically insecure in our persons, possessions, and ideas. Classic beauty gets wrinkled, bank accounts are ravaged by inflation, or worse, goals attained may no longer satisfy. Relationships falter, doubts challenge our beliefs in God, and failing health force us to confront a mortality that may be inconvenient. Yet, the concept of enough, though we are anxious, ask that we look away from lack and futility and commandeer life: our emotions, ideas and resources and whats left of our beliefs, to bend it and our will to a strategy that gives the best we have and reject any ideas and limits that our station in life is predetermined.

There are two areas that demand mentions for their `power` to affect  how we view our realities and consequently effect a new or prolong experience. These are religion and drugs. Both contain the seeds to new awareness of self, surroundings, and possibilities. Drug reliance invariably leads to a mirage and a loss of self control. Religion, divorced from its tyrannical tendencies, can help to harmonize a person`s image and sense of self.

If we are maladapted to our circumstances, we cannot look to others for relief or change. The crumbs from another’s table may suffice to ease today’s hunger, but tomorrow’s is impatient of and unresponsive to charity.

Enough is a shackled prisoner who holds the key. Whether he knows he holds the key or not is an intriguing thriller.  So here we stand, unsure of what and who we are and the length of days we have to do and be. Bombarded by others` views, perceptions and directives for our lives, we wrestle with what to do and why. Our cupboards are bare, the prices in the market place frighten us, the holes in our buckets are source of anxiety.

Enough is the challenge to find out who we really are and whether we want to bend the arc of history towards fairness and dignity. There is no lack where the resolve is unbounded!

Peter Peterkin, Readers Bureau,Fellow