My shopping weakness is books.

That sounds weird, no? Maybe you expected me to say hats, which I love, or bags, which I also love! Yet with these I have sufficient self-control and am able to put them down and walk away.

But put me in a bookstore and I go crazy. Oh a book on patchwork! Maybe I should start quilting. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte! Tuesdays with Morrie! I haven't read those. How about an autobiography? Or a historical record of Russia? I may go there one day. No, no, maybe that little book on time management, I need that. Oooo that notebook is so preeettty!!

Then comes the part where I reluctantly turn over and look at the price. In the world of hardbound words, numbers look very insignificant. What is RM59.90 when I can kickstart a career as a Spanish translator? Or 'slightly' more than that when the future of Middle Earth is at stake?

By some miracle, I'd be pulled back to the world of frugality. But if I can leave a boutique empty-handed and feel secure, I cannot do the same when I leave MPH. There's a sense of wrongness! The world must be righted again! And so at wit's end I grab a RM5 magazine instead. But now that I think of it, all the 5 ringgits I've spent could have placed a worthier book on my shelf now. Sigh...

Maybe my fondness for books would be pardoned if it weren't for the fact that I have many titles I have not read still. I look at what I don't have and forget what I do have. I don't realize how blessed I am just to have the privilege of having books. There are still many out there who are illiterate or cannot afford books.

Last I counted, I have about 300 books. A third I got for free, another third I got dirt cheap at flea markets and bargain bins, and only the last third did I buy at normal prices. But it's not just about money.

The issue is contentment. I should learn to be satisfied and grateful with what I have. I found several verses on contentment:

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. (1 Timothy 6:7,8)

Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. (Luke 12:15)

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. (Hebrews 13:5)

The first verse is something. To think that I cannot bring my books into the afterlife is sobering! =\

The age of consumerism feeds on our never being satisfied. Sure, maybe it sustains the economy, but what does it do to our being in the end?

Of course, we cannot altogether stop from shopping. There will always be those necessities (Like real necessities, not the ones we claim we cannot live without). Nonetheless, let us regularly take stock and be grateful and content for what we already have. =)

So God... thank You for my 300 books!