The business of life

As a society, have we become so busy and preoccupied that we have forgotten how to live? Have we lost sight of what matters most?

I live in a neighborhood infused with Mexican and Central American immigrants. It is commonplace to see cowboy-boot-wearing NorteƱos pushing strollers with their families. It would be no stretch to say that the Mexicans are the dominant demographic in my little slice of Dallas. In fact, last year Dallas had one of the largest pro-immigration protests in the country with several thousand people marching to city hall, which gives you some idea of the environment here. Like any frontier town, Dallas is very diverse in every respect but also strained because of it. It is a place boiling with activity and competition…life.

Around my neighborhood, I get the chance to observe my neighbors whose lives seem very different from mine. Where white America seems spoiled, isolated, and decadent, brown America seems eager, united, and vital. I drive past a park every day on my way home. Every day it is packed with families and kids playing. Friends playing basketball or soccer under the live oak trees. Women walking together with their babies. Life. I compare this to when I visit my Uncle who lives in the suburbs near Fort Worth. In his neighborhood, the homes are lovely, but you never see anyone. Everyone is inside somewhere. Inside watching 300 channels on their plasma televisions, inside their SUV’s with the kids zoned out to the Finding Nemo DVD, inside the Starbucks loading up on $4 triple Venti lattes. Everyone tricking themselves into thinking that they are happy with all this crap, but maybe their eyes say otherwise.

Our society is crumbling and it will not be held together by Starbucks. It will not be held together by self-deception. Our task is to remember what is important, who we are and who we want to be. To feel hunger not for more, more, more, but for better, better, better… for ourselves and, most importantly, for others.

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