Not too many years ago I used to see the world with an attitude of lack. I was always fearful that I wouldn’t have enough for whatever I would need. I inherited that attitude from my father. My father grew up on a farm in the early 1900s and was a young man in his early thirties during the Depression. Consequently, he watched every penny he ever spent. We never went on a vacation, or had parties, or went anywhere fun. His whole life was work and church. He was afraid to lose what he had. He feared retirement. Thankfully for him he died three months before his sixty-fourth birthday. His family was beginning to be concerned what he would do at retirement. That last year before retirement would have made him terribly stressed. He had no hobbies and he never really came out of the depression he sank into when my mother died after they had been married for less than twelve years. He could never really share his feelings about the blessings that surrounded him. He never saw them.
For much of my life I also operated from that attitude of lack. I constantly denied myself things only because I felt I couldn’t afford them whether I could have or not. I began to turn my life around and now I feel I live in opulent abundance.
A friend shared something with me that made me realize that she thinks about much in the same way. She gives thanks as she is shopping as do I. For the United States, my income is below average, but the US is second in rank in the world. There are 206 countries in the world whose average per capita income is less than the US. That makes me more wealthy than more than 90% of the world’s population.
By world standards, I am swimming in unbelieveable wealth. What am I able to do with my wealth? I can tithe 10% of it to my church and donate annually to a couple of charities either with money or my time. I can pay my taxes on time, buy health insurance, car insurance, home owners insurance. I can buy a couple of new outfits a year and a pair of shoes or two. (Although I don’t because I hate to shop for shoes.) I can shop at JC Penny’s, Target, WalMart, and once in a great while at Dillard’s and Macy’s when they are having blow out sales. If something is broken, I can call someone to repair it. My oven and refrigerator last year reached their thirty-first birthday. By watching the sales, I was able to replace them. If these new appliances last that long, it will probably be longer than I do.
With my health insurance to help, I know I can afford for a doctor to watch over me and I can afford the tests he needs to run and the prescriptions he gives me. By budgeting, I know I can afford to get dental care.
I know when I do my grocery shopping at WalMart, Kroger’s, or Target, I can pay for my purchases. Since I am retired, I know I have enough for the upkeep of my six year old car that only has 30,000 miles on it. But I am thankful that it is mine. Last spring I could afford to buy new tires. I can choose to let it sit in the garage or I can use it any time I wish. It is always there waiting for me.
I know I do not have to worry about the gas, electricity, or the water being turned off. (Except for the first time in years, I did get a pink notice from the electric company when I forgot to pay last month’s bill on time.) If I want a drink of water, all I have to do is walk to the sink. I can shower in hot water and wash my clothes in my own washer any time day or night. I can then dry them in a dryer. These machines are right off my kitchen.
I know if I need help in the middle of the night, my phone is right next to my bed connecting me to 911. Of course, since I am able to write this blog, it is obvious I can afford to be connected to the internet. I am able to sleep under a down comforterin cooler months in a home I feel secure in. I know my taxes pay for the security of the patrols that drive by my home on a fairly regular basis and light the street light outside my window.
I am able to afford to feed a dog who provides me with companionship and take her to the vets and once in a while I can even get her professionally groomed.
I know that once or twice a month I can go to a restaurant with friends or to a matinee, although I don’t do that often since my son gave me Netflix for Christmas. I’m not one who has to see most movies when they first come out.
I know that with saving in advance, I have been able to visit friends in other parts of the country every once in a while with the knowledge that very kind neighbors will keep a close watch on my home while I am gone.
When I want to see the beauty of nature I can walk with my dog to a nearby duck pond in the morning, or twice a year breathe in the beauty of the crepe myrtles that are in abundance in my neighborhood. If I want to witness joy, all I have to do is walk a couple of blocks and watch the children at recess at the neighborhood school. I can hike along the trail by the river or visit the public gardens.
With a comfortable life, a great church, and wonderful friends, I know I live a life of unbelieveable abundance.
I cannot understand the epidemic of greed which has washed over this country of ours. Yes, there has always been corruption and business people who make a game of seeing how much worldly goods they can acquire. I just cannot fathom the need to live better than former kings, and pee in solid gold toilets or cruise on yachts that are 200 to 500 foot long.
It seems to me that having all those worldly goods would create a terrible burden on how to keep all that “stuff”. It seems to me the men and women who feel the need for that much greed must suffer from terrible feelings of inadequacy somewhere because of their lack of size or depravation of their parents’ love. I feel sorry for those who think they have friends because they are able to lavishly entertain them. How often do we hear of those friends abandoning the rich when fortunes turn? The Prodigal Son discovered that lesson the hard way.
I went Saturday evening to see Capitalism: A Love Story and enjoyed a meal with four firends at a Chinese Buffet. I splurged spening almost fifteen dollars that evening. Now that movie is a whole other blog, but suffice it to say, I just cannot comprehend the need of the top 1% in our nation to own more than the rest of the 99% combined. Where does that need possibly come from? It is truly a puzzle to me.
I am thankful that for me, cars are what get me from point A to B, clothes are what keep me warm or keep me from getting arrested, a roof and walls are things that keep me out of the weather. I am especially thankful for that here in the Texas summers and the few weeks of winter. Those blue northers get downright nasty if you are out in the great outdoors. I am thankful that I have the ability to think in those terms and let the burdens of greed for other poor souls.
Yes, readers, I am abundantly blessed. I pray that you are able to feel that way too. Perhaps you might have a better day today if you count your own blessings. I know I do. Namaste. Attic Annie