Shopping and Pigeons

By: Samantha Ponder
November 2, 2015

Today on our walk, Scout got so excited I thought she might explode. Her legs were kicking like crazy, arms were flailing and she sounded like she was hyperventilating. If it wasn’t so hilarious, I might have been worried.

The girl LOVES pigeons. Scout is to pigeons what tweens are to One Direction (that’s still who the tweens like, right?). I picture her as the woman inHome Alone in Central Park with birds all over her, just lovin’ life.

When about ten of them surrounded us today, I got to thinking… I wish I appreciated pigeons. I know it sounds dumb, but at some point in life I was told they are like flying rats; gross and useless. Technically, those things may be true for the most part, but I’ve let my negative thoughts toward them rob me of an opportunity to, like Scout, experience happiness and laughter for free.

For about a year, I allowed myself to buy whatever I wanted. I bought a car, whatever ridiculously expensive handbags I wanted, clothes that could have paid my rent a few years before, and generally never looked at price tags. I was making more money than I ever imagined and figured since I could afford it, I should try the “retail therapy” I had read about in magazines.

Here’s what I learned. Money CAN buy happiness. Those days I spent wandering malls in fancy clothes spending money on shiny new things were fun. In fact, it was addicting. Whenever I felt a twinge of discomfort or negativity, I found myself online buying shoes I would wear twice.

There was one problem. While it made me happy (that temporary feeling you get when you win a trophy or while something is still new and exciting), it didn’t provide any peace. In fact, I eventually found myself more insecure than ever, desiring things I never knew existed to try to look like airbrushed, filtered people I didn’t even know. While the money I was making bought me some happiness, it was costing too much.

So back to the pigeons. Scout has been teaching me a lot about the way God makes us, about the way we were intended to live. I believe we were intended to get those temporary feelings of happiness from things that cost us nothing. From the stuff God made. What is more hilarious than watching these birds with wings walk around on the ground, moving their necks like weirdos and stopping sidewalk traffic like they own the place? I’m going to do my best from now on to enjoy the free stuff. To appreciate the cows that make the soft leather bag that used to make me feel happy for a day or so (sorry, vegetarians).

Happiness, in my opinion, isn’t a worthwhile ultimate goal. There is no happy without sad, no rejoicing without mourning. I want peace. Peace in struggle and triumph, loss and victory. Happiness is free, and it’s available everywhere… in a baby’s smile and a pigeon’s walk. The temporary happiness that can be bought is a cheap imitation, intended to make you a lifelong customer, a slave to marketers and advertisers subliminally telling you “you’ll love yourself with just a little more.”

It’s a lie.

I’m replacing shopping with pigeons.

Laugh it up all you want, but Scout gets it.