Mike Ruby

Mike Ruby

A full page ad in the Quad-City Times on Easter Sunday was sponsored by Hobby Lobby. It stated, “Feeling Hollow? Discover the true meaning of Easter.” The ad featured a large chocolate rabbit with part of his ear missing to show it was hollow. It was a religious ad promoting the true meaning of Easter. The ad was creative and thought provoking.

Hobby Lobby, Chic-Fil-A, and Fareway grocery stores, among others, are always closed on Sundays, not just on Easter. I admire retailers who keep their doors locked on Sundays because of their religious beliefs, especially since Sundays are one of the busiest shopping days of the week. Their actions boldly claim Almighty God is infinitely more important than the almighty dollar. It was the norm many years ago for nearly all retail stores to be closed on Sundays, but those days are long gone.

Most Americans enjoy an abundance of material wealth, but often an emotional hollowness still lingers. Even though closets are jam packed, rented storage units are overflowing, expensive vehicles sit in the garage, vacations are enjoyed, and we occasionally succeed in losing a few pounds, many of us continue to be restless and dissatisfied.

We strive for the high-quality, solid chocolate-rabbit life, but the excitement quickly fades when we discover the chocolate rabbit is just a disappointing hollow shell. Why do some people who “have everything” still experience a persistent void in their life, but others, who have just as much, or even less, seem to be happy and content?

I think the hollow feeling is a result of a person’s inward focus, whether they are conscious of it or not. A self-centered attitude is seriously detrimental to one’s emotional health and happiness. Their endless desire for more material possessions, the unrelenting quest to be younger looking, or being obsessed with an exciting social life, invariably leaves a person feeling empty and dissatisfied.

Much of the hollowness can be filled when a person takes two things seriously: a) working diligently on developing a spiritual life and b) adopting a “service above self” lifestyle. When these two attributes are practiced on a daily basis, there is a deep joy and satisfaction that no amount of money can buy. Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran stated, “I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”

Some people learn very early in life the importance of a spiritual life and serving others. Sadly, many go to their grave never figuring it out. The choice is ours to make.

Mike Ruby is a Muscatine resident who writes a monthly column about life for the Journal.

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