A close friend lives on the other side of the United States from me and together we form a book club. Yes, a two person book club. We talk for half an hour every week and have done so for a number of years. We alternate choosing books and feel free to abandon one if neither of us can stand to finish it.
Right now we are reading the book pictured above written in 2002 by a Canadian woman who worked at the time at Romero House Community in Toronto settling refugees. I found the reference to her book in a fairly lightweight book about gratitude. Every time that author quoted Leddy, I found what Leddy had written was worth a closer read. So my friend and I each acquired a used copy of the book.
Leddy challenges what she sees as a North American refusal to be satisfied with the present moment. She says that we live in a consumer culture and that its effects run much deeper than most of us realize. She says that the constant advertising blitz we live in constantly tells us that we need “more,” “better,” and “improved.” While many of us believe we resist the pull to buy a new car every year, she thinks that we are being influenced at a profound level. She calls this state “perpetual dissatisfaction,” and writes that it permeates North American culture. It leads us to want more in every aspect of our lives, not only materially but also in other ways. We judge everything around us as not being good enough, whether it is our church, our marriage, our family or our very selves.
“Radical Gratitude” challenges me at a deeply personal level. Anyone wanting to be stirred to confront the miasma of “perpetual dissatisfaction” all around us would benefit from reading the book.