I caught a few minutes of TLC's Extreme Couponing show the other day. I have always been impressed with people who do the whole couponing thing - it certainly is impressive to be able to work the system in such a way as to get so much free stuff.
What struck me the other day, though, was this particular person seemed to possibly be a better fit for TLC's other show which I've only seen previews for: Hoarding: Buried Alive. She is, of course, much better organized and her stuff is all neatly shelved and divided into categories, but the disorder seems to be the same to me. Listening to her describe why she spends so much time couponing was very much like listening to someone who is addicted to drugs. She talked frequently about the "high" she gets when getting a good deal, about how she spends all her free time (70 hours a week!) searching the internet to make sure she doesn't miss any good deals. She'll leave the house at 11pm to go get a deal. Her stash consumes an entire room and is slowly taking over the rest of her house. She actually said something to the effect of "The bigger my stash gets, the better I feel." Instead of admiring her, I was just sad. She has more toothpaste and toilet paper than she can use, and yet she still continues to buy it. Like a heroin addict looking for the next hit, she uses her time and energy searching for the next big deal. I suppose it's physically healthier to be addicted to good deals rather than, say, methamphetamine, emotionally it's probably the same.
The show also reinforced to me that I'm just not that interested in trying to coupon. I have some friends who do coupon in a way that seems both good and reasonable, but when I see most of the stuff that is bought with coupons, I feel like most of it is stuff that I don't use. (Toothpaste and toilet paper aside.) I know there are lots of people out there who coupon as a way to best use the resources God has given them, and I respect that. But I also think God wants us to be faithful stewards of more than just money; our time and energy are also important to him. At this point in my life, I don't think I could be a good steward of all of them while still trying to do all this couponing. (But kudos to those who can!)
I guess I was also somewhat chastized while watching this show. It is very easy to see what this woman is treasuring; she readily admits that her room full of toiletries makes her feel better. I, on the other hand, hide behind my respectable Christian vocabulary and pride, never letting on how I seek out affirmation like a junkie, piling up my accomplishments and good deeds because they make me feel better. As if they could somehow be offered up as evidence of a good life.
It made me wonder: what else am I hoarding in those boarded-up and dark rooms in my heart?