Michele Catalano writes this great article on The American Dream and how it has changed for the worse over the years.
"Long ago, the American Dream was one of simplicity ... Prosperity was found not in the money you made or the things you owned, but the feeling of well-being that came with providing a comfortable life for your family. If you owned the land you lived on and your kids were healthy and your wife was able to put a hot meal on the table at dinner time, life was good. You were living the American Dream. Maybe you could even buy a car to take the family on a beach vacation.
In recent years, not only has the concept of the American Dream changed, but so has the attitude toward achieving that dream. Years ago, even in times of financial hardship, the attainment of the dream was brought about by hard work and, in times of financial crisis, by making do with what you had. Talk to anyone who has been through the Great Depression and they will mostly tell you the same thing my grandmother said about those times: “It is what it is.” Making do became part of the dream, not a sign of failure to realize the dream."
That last sentence is something to think about, isn't it? That our hard times and struggles -- as long as we go through them together -- become part of the dream of this life here on Earth. We are more used to thinking of our troubles being part of our spiritual growth, but they can also enrich our temporal lives. They can inspire us to seek simplicity, draw us closer to our family and community, and remind us what is truly important about being human.