Begin with the Prayer of Abandonment.
“A man’s wealth is measured by what he doesn’t need.” Henry David Thoreau
NOTE: This is a “reprised” post from one I wrote five years ago. Five years later, we are still enjoying the same house — but now we have our eyes set on selling it in a few years as Craig looks toward retirement.
As I write this, Craig and I are making arrangements to close on the first house we have owned in nearly five years. Five years of rentals, of moving at least once each year and three of those across state lines. Yes, it’s as exhausting as it sounds. And so you can imagine my delight and relief when we walked into this particular house, the house that had everything we’d asked for on our checklist, and knew . . . knew we were home at last.
Everything came together in a most delightful happenstance: a generous bonus for Craig, a tax refund we’d been awaiting for months, a generous gift from a family member . . . within a year we’d gone from living from paycheck to paycheck to having a down payment on the house of our dreams. Truly we could not more amazed and humbled knowing that many people — including some close to us — continue to struggle. It may be our turn again soon enough . . . But for now, we choose simply to be thankful for Divine Providence.
Money — both the possession of it, and the lack thereof — can change relationships, even within families. Sadly, having it can cause even more difficulties than not having it. Some of the most generous and genuinely kindhearted people I’ve ever met were desperately poor. On the other hand, money can also create unnecessary barriers between people, leading to a poverty of spirit that Blessed Mother Teresa said is the worst kind of poverty.
Jesus once observed that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven (Mt 19:24). Once the rich man arrives at the Pearly Gates, of course, the playing fields are leveled … the streets are paved with gold, and resplendant mansions have been prepared for each of us. Everyone who makes it, wins the proverbial lottery.
The whole point of what we do here, then, is to learn what it means to be content with our present circumstances, whatever they might be. Like almost every other facet of human experience, our financial well-being can change in the blink of an eye; what must never change is our trust in Divine Providence.