What is your greatest treasure?
What defines your wealth?
For the longest time I have been pushing, striving, struggling to get myself into a position of wealth. I want to have security, I want provide my children with the best of everything. I want them to have everything in never did. And I suppose you can get quite manic about that sort of thing. It can also seriously get you down.
But although in theory I have always understood that there is more to being wealthy than just being materialistically secure, I have seen a lot of things recently that have brought it home.
Last week I spent a gruelling few hours waiting in queues at the provincial hospital to see a specialist. While I was in my third or fourth hour there I noticed an old man who was there to visit the same specialist. Too old and frail to manage to get around at the hospital by himself he was accompanied by a young woman who I assume must have been his granddaughter. When his name was called she took him tenderly by the hand and led him gently down the corridor. There was such a wealth of tenderness and compassion in that taking of his hand. It was the simplest thing, but in that moment I realised that here was a man who had lived his life in such a way as to invoke the kind of protective love and compassion that would lead a young family member to not only go through all of the hours of queuing and waiting, but to do it with such largeness of heart that there was no frustration at the waiting. There was no hurry. There was just love and compassion. She was reassuring him that everything would be okay. And I thought, wow. That old man has a kind of wealth that few people might ever earn.
I regularly take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the scenery around me when I drive to work in the mornings. I have this wealth of beauty around me on a daily basis. It comes at a price, it’s true. But I am happy to pay it, in order to live somewhere that looks like an airbrushed post card most days of the week. It lifts your soul in a way that not many things can. Just the same way that gazing out over the sea at sunset and sunrise and breathing that salt air will do you as much good as several weeks of visiting an inner city therapist. I always appreciated the view. What I should have taken more time to appreciate was where I was seeing it from.
You see, my car, which took me to so many beautiful places, was stolen. Of course I am not insured. Insurance is for people who have money to pay for it. So here I am, in a bit of a pickle. But although I was relatively devastated (in fact I spent the first eight hours in total shock. It simply didn’t sink in) I keep thinking, Thank God my kids are okay. I am okay. My mom is okay. My beautiful friends are okay, my cat is okay! I realised that although I have always known that the people in my life mean more to me than any thing, the people in my life are my greatest treasures, my greatest assets.
I have a handful of friends who are kind, gentle, considerate and funny. They are intelligent. They are beautiful. I have children who are quite simply fantastic. I have a mother who is willing to lay down her entire upbringing in order to love and accept her children and I have siblings who would kick the living shit out of those car jackers if they had half a chance. Not to mention my bouquet of wild aunts who would keep a running commentary while they did. I have people. Good people. They are my greatest wealth. Knowing that they would be there for me today was worth more to me than I can ever explain. For all the wonders of this mortal coil they remain my greatest treasures. I am grateful for the hard times, because without them how would I know who my friends are? I am grateful for my sorrow and my black states of depression, because without them how would I know joy or peace? I am grateful for sitting on the beach with friends and a bottle of sherry, letting my worries run out across the water and giving my soul room to stretch and breathe. I am grateful for friends who I can not only share my thoughts with, but my comfortable silences too.
When I think about the wealth of friendship and good health in my life it seems almost brazen, almost blasphemous, to want for anything more.
The heart wants what the heart wants, just as the ego and the body do too. I have managed to master them all, save my heart. It continues to long for what it does, paying no attention to reason or well meant warnings from my conscious self. It beats bravely in a quiet room inside my soul, watching from a high window and hoping.
Thank you to the treasured ones who have fed it with your light.
I only hope that every person who reads this will take a moment to realise their own personal wealth.