Sometimes I’ve wondered what it would be like to be rich– I mean, really rich, as in never-have-to- worry-about-money-again rich. There have been occasions, while exiting the highway at Memorial Drive, I’ve glanced up at the ginormous lottery sign announcing the mega payoff and I’ve thought, “What would I do with all that money? Would my life be better? Would I be happier?” I probably will never know because I don’t plan on playing, but after thinking about it some more, I have determined something; I’m already rich.
I am rich because I am the daughter of two parents who loved and cherished me. The time, energy and resources they poured into me helped me to know that I was important to them and that I mattered. One of my earliest memories is snuggling up with mother on the sofa, at the corner closest to the lamp, and listening to her read stories to me in the evenings. She encouraged my creativity and curiosity and answered my many questions, at least most of the time, and this set the stage for things to come. She helped me believe that I was destined for great things. Even after my father died, my mother was faithful to finish what was started, and it was her tenacity and strength that carried me safely to the shores of adulthood.
I am rich because of the legacy of love given to me by others who are no longer with us– people like Auntie (That’s what we called our Aunt Dianna, my mother’s twin sister. We had other aunts, but there was only one Auntie.) She was the family historian and since she had no children of her own, she was always there to fill in the gap for me and my siblings while we were growing up. Now I’m the family historian and I am proud to be her namesake.
I am rich because I’m blessed to be married to a left brained-right brained kind of guy–you know the type, well learned, intelligent and creative, but practical and hands-on. I smile sometimes when I look at him standing at the podium on Sunday mornings delivering a word to the congregation, or I catch a glimpse of him on television interviewing an important politician because I know that the same man who prays those beautiful prayers and writes and edits the newspaper stories, is the same man who will come home and wash and fold a load of laundry. My point is, he’s not just talker, but a doer. He has a servant’s heart and he lives it out each day in our home and I am deeply satisfied because I know that, this time, I chose well.
I am rich every time I hold my granddaughter and her little brothers in my arms and they cover me with hugs and kisses and tell me that they love me. And when sweet, little Bryce prays his prayers at night, thanking God that we have chosen to be his grandma and grandpa too, my heart is full and my cup runneth over.
I am rich because I have finally reached a point where I am comfortable in my own skin and although I would prefer to be a size four instead of a fourteen I am happy, healthy and whole and grateful to be the me I am today.
I am rich because I’ve been blessed with the gift of children. The love and the life lessons that I’ve learned as a result of motherhood far outweighed the duties and sacrifices. Choosing to be a mother and to care for four other human beings has challenged me to give of myself in ways I never would have had I not chosen to become a parent, but the paradox is, that in giving, I received. They helped me to grow up and I am a better person because of them.
I am rich because of the beautiful friendships I enjoy with the many women God has placed in my life over the years. Some are older, some are younger and there are those who I’ve known longer, but I share a camaraderie them all. I feel emotionally and spiritually nourished when I can talk with trusted women friends about the issues that matter most to me. Yes, there are those times when a little gossip is involved, but most of the time we’re exchanging words of encouragement and practical advice and I’m glad to be a part of such a wonderful sisterhood.
I am rich because I am a sibling and auntie to a host of brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, both biologically and by-law. Although we only see each other a few times a year, coming together to celebrate birthdays and holidays and other special occasions is a wonderful reminder that I am in relationships with people with whom I share common history. This helps me to feel rooted and grounded.
I am rich because I have been able to tap into my God-given gifts and I operate with a sense of purpose. Whether it’s writing stories for the paper, singing a solo for church service, using my marketing/PR skills to organize an event, homeschooling my daughter, or cooking a good meal for my family, I know that what I do makes a difference and that gives me fulfillment.
I am rich because I belong to a church family who loves and cares about me. When I first came to this Grace 20 years ago, I was on the brink of divorce and about to be a single mom with three children. I was hurting and I was scared, but they immediately embraced me and began to help me in practical ways. They invited me to eat in their homes, talk at their kitchen tables, and on occasion even sleep in their beds. Over time I began to realize that I was connected to large, diverse spiritual family. Because of their consistent love, I was able to grow and develop in my Christian walk and now I’m a part of the leadership of this church and I am able to give back and help others in the same way they helped me. The best part is, that when it’s all said and done, we’re going spend eternity together.