Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Define "rich"

My sister and I were talking on the phone the other day (I have 5 sisters - I am the youngest, this was the next youngest girl) and something came up about money. I can't remember how the conversation went, but we agreed Mr Malaprop and I are rich. After all, we have a stainless steele refrigerator, and money in the bank. Oh Ho! But wait, she had made it in life, too. After all, her benchmark used to be having a refrigerator with ice/water in the door, which she now has. We laughed at ourselves, but it made me wonder - how rich is rich? I have joint ownership in more assests now than I have ever had previously in my life. But what is important? The people, not the stuff. Not the dollars.

In some ways the dollars make it easier to focus on the people. I do not have a job outside the home. I focus on my husband and kids and our home environment in ways I could never do if I needed to help provide income. And I do not spend my time worrying about money.

In some ways the dollars make life more difficult. We have more clothes to wash, more carpet to vacuum, more toys to pick up, more maintenance to do all around. We have a bigger house and at night I sometimes wonder if we should activate the security system that is installed. We haven't used it since we moved in, but I sometimes wonder, "Does our house look like a good target for a thief?" It isn't so much about our stuff as it is about my children's safety. I also worry about their current education. I don't have them in music lessons, art lessons, gymnastics lessons... should I? If we didn't have the money for lessons, would I still worry about it? I mean, if we were worried about paying the bills and putting food on the table... And about that money in the bank - I also have this vague guilt that these "extra" dollars should be feeding the hungry or clothing the naked or ??? Where is the balance between preparing responsibly for the future and fulfilling Works of Mercy?
Do I have so much that I will be that sad rich man who walked away from Jesus? Is that what I'm doing right now?

Mark 10:21
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to (the) poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.


rennabay said...

This thought, or train of thought, resonates with my seemingly constant evaluation of the relative (ha ha) nature of wealth that we each have... an idea that is brought into relief after gathering with the wealth of family that we have, and the big pot o' gold at the Rainbow's End.
By which of course I mean Grandma's awesome starburst dish set which my sister and I both pine for. ;)

ps. the word today is "msccsou" which seems to me is a school in either Minnesota or Montana somewhere.

Candlestring said...

Better start ebayin', girlfriend. Those dishes are *mine* (I wish). Actually, Mr. CancerBrokenWrists and I might have to duke it out or split the set... Or I'll have to start ebaying it myself. But I'm hoping I have an "in" with Mrs. Rainbow's End. ;) She KNOWS I got it bad for them dishes.