Monday, December 6, 2010

The Voice of Need

Many years ago I was talking with an acquaintance. She and her husband had visited a third world country, somewhere on an ocean. Her trip had taken place when the weather was warm. Wanting to see the countryside, she and her husband had signed up for a tour of the area. The beauty was spectacular, she had related. In fact it was stunningly, breathtakingly beautiful. As they climbed a mountain road they came upon a small humble home that faced the ocean. Surrounded by the home were plentiful trees bearing fruit. A small garden was outside the home. There was no electricity or running water as far as she could tell. The family greeted the vacationers warmly and as they drove away my friend thought, "How sad, they live in so much poverty."

At the time I heard the story I thought, "They may be one of the richest people on earth." Honestly, I do not know how I would do living without the luxuries of my everyday conveniences. How I would do if I could not jump in my partially hybrid car and drop down to the store to pick up dinner. But I happen to know, for all certainty, that having money does not create peace or happiness. It certainly takes the heat off when we have the basics provided, e.g., food, shelter and clothing. But I happen to know a lot of people who have a lot of money who are not happy. I also know people who are struggling financially who are not happy. I have come to believe that joy and happiness only arrive on our doorstep when we are at peace with our lives. No matter what our lives look like. Accepting what is, being present...all the things I have been taught by people far wiser than I.

I wish for all of you, during this season of "Peace and joy on earth" to stop for a moment and count the many hundreds of blessings in your life. Did you know that it takes over 300 different people to bring that box of macaroni and cheese into your cupboard? Or that there are trees outside of your home waiting for you to really enjoy their beauty? If you passed from this world today, would any of your worries matter? I cannot guarantee it, but probably they would not. I think about that family living on that mountain, engulfed by the beauty of their peace and I stop and give thanks for the thousands and thousands of conveniences that grace my door and my life. May you be peaceful, may you be loving, may you be kind...that is the kind of wealth no one can take from us.

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