Like Richie Rich, Rich!

Today, I’m sitting on my boat dock, just outside my back door.  My husband pulled our cabin cruiser over from the marina across the cove, to clean up after the recent storms.  The house across from us is a multi million dollar home, like many around the lake.

Even Brad Pitt has a place here.  Most are merely vacation homes, only used on weekends during the summer.  Their boat docks alone are worth more than most of the homes I’ve lived in.

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I don’t begrudge anybody for being successful.  That’s seldomly a gift but rather the product of years of hard work and sacrifice.  But, we do wonder what it would be like to have so much disposable income, that if we would use it like that?  We wonder about the good that could be done with that much excess instead and imagine what good we would do, but the nagging question is, would we really?

The thought that disturbs me is how easily we slip into certain attitudes…the attitude of not having as much as someone else, attitudes of ever needing, more, better, best.  It’s attitudes that not only feed selfishness, self centeredness, self importance, a false sense of pride and superiority but worse, it deprives us of the ability to see how wonderfully blessed we already are and robs us of gratitude.

Simultaneously,  I’ve been asked to be a beta reader of a book written by Jeff Lester, a school friend of my husband, and send back an honest critique and suggested edits.  Jeff and his book, are a beacon through the fog, riveted on  these exact  attitudes like a glaring spotlight.

A young man, an athlete, single and just beginning his adult life, was handed a death sentence, a diagnosis of ALS with prognosis of 3 to 5 years.  Every dream, plan and vision for his life, fell to the ground like shattered glass.  27 years later, a quadriplegic and  on a ventilator, he recounts his many joys, counts his blessing and teaches me to see with once blind eyes, my own.

While ALS slowly destroyed his body, Jeff, chose life, formed a deeper relationship with G-d, found Joy’s in unexpected places and a life of greater purpose.   Jeff found love, married, had three daughters, obtained a master’s degree and wrote a book that will touch many lives with a perspective of blessedness and hope through any struggle.

I view my life with newly reopened eyes.  In comparison to those around me, I have so little.  My house isn’t very large, my boat isn’t biggest or the best, I drive a mini van that fits my XXL dogs instead of a Porsche, but the littlest I’ve ever had, once homeless after a fire, has been greater that 90% of the world and yet they live happy lives!  I have a roof over my head to shelter me, clean water, cool in the heat and warmth from the cold.  I have family.  I am loved.

I am reminded that on my last day here, that G-d won’t care what kind of car I drove, how expensive or large my home, my net worth.  He’ll care about my life, how I lived it, how I either used my blessings to bless others or hoarded them unto myself.

He’s not looking for a materially successful citizens of the world but those who have overcome these attitudes to become the future good citizens of Heaven.

From this vantage point, I see how blessed I am and have been in every moment, even in the most difficult ones.  I’ve been blessed In the struggles that made me solid, the terrors that made me strong, in need where faith grew, in grief where I learned hope.

My heart yields to the depth of gratitude,  knowing I am rich.  I am Richie Rich, rich!  I am richly blessed, rich in spirit and rich in a debt to G-d for what I do not deserve nor could ever repay.  Fully blessed.

38 comments

  1. Laura, you absolutely sing my heart! I loved this for the conviction you give to what really matters in a life. To the difference between what we actually need and what we think we need (aka want). I would love to read Jeff’s book. I had the absolute privilege of meeting Stephen Hawking not long before he passed. It was simultaneously the most humbling and elevating of encounters. We can learn so much from those who take extreme suffering and refuse to allow it to rule them. We can learn so much from the truly poor who don’t begrudge anything and who take each day lived as a blessing. We can learn so much from opening our eyes and our hearts to the reality that we are fortunate to be alive. And I, in turn am fortunate to have your wonderful words to read. Go softly, wise lady.

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    • Thank you so much and thank you for sharing your amazing story with me! Your words are all too true. Stripping away the illusion of what wealth is, allows us to clearly see the truth of what matters, how richly blessed we truly are and begins the journey of living with hearts filled with appreciation and gratitude for what’s been before us the whole time.💕

      Liked by 1 person

      • I ponder what the world will feel like when this crisis eventually passes. How it will have changed people. Not those bereaved, that is another issue. But the whole damn mess of humanity. I hope that it will be a more compassionate, kinder, more decent, less greedy version. I hope the lessons being put before us become an opportunity to revert to a simpler time. Gratitude is the single most important thing we have in our armoury and it is certainly time to let it out into the light. X

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  2. that’s fantastic! What a reminder! I have to reblog! I am grateful to for so much in life. Life hasn’t always been kind to me, but I’m still here, surviving, and for that, I am truly grateful and glad. ❤

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  3. When someone writes an post he/she maintains the image of a user in his/her brain that how a user
    can know it. So that’s why this post is great.
    Thanks!

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  4. oh and as for million dollar homes, in our little town we have lake side homes where Richie riches live, without telling the entire net were I live lol, down the road is a young teen heart throb’s multi million dollar home, maybe a 10 min drive from here lol

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  5. if I had more money than brains ( is my saying for having more money than I could possibly use) id buy the biggest piece of land I could, build a little farm house and the land would be used to rescue animals, id employee fellow animal lovers to help me care for them all, would I buy a car I’ve always wanted, sure its the one luxury Id give my self, a mustang or a jeep.

    Your friend did well for himself when life handed him ” a death sentence” many cant say that, including myself. Often we are left grieving what we have lost instead of grasping at what we can still have.

    I too decorate, purchase, and live, to accommodate my fur babies, I miss my mini van some days!

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  6. I’d settle for a sidewalk next to a hole with water in it at this point! 😛 I have lost myself in those same thoughts on many occasions recently. And every time I hear that teachers need to be paid more, it turns my stomach because its true but it will never happen. I even keep that fame idea in the back of my head every time I get called to an audition, I know that reality has me pegged as being in debt and paying my kids college loans back until I die. And that’s ok. I still have dreams and to me thats what is important because fi the dreams die then what’s left? I don’t want to know.

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  7. Beautifully said. I had to downsize from my nice but still modest lifestyle during my divorce and live alone in a tiny apartment with a cat. Yet, I’m still so thankful! I got through my divorce, which was long overdue, and have a great relationship with my daughters, which is the most important thing to me. They’re both happy and doing well. Etc. So much goodness. 💖

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