Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Are you rich in what matters?

If he were alive, today would be my father's 76th birthday. I miss him a lot, and as the years have passed, my gratitude for having him in my life has grown. He not only took care of my basic needs (food, clothing, shelter), but also encouraged me, modeled an authentic life of faith, and taught me many lessons including how to budget and save money, how to persevere when life is hard, and why good friends - and being a good friend - matter.  

I share this because most poverty experts know that escaping poverty is not solely about financial resources. It's also about having emotional and spiritual resources as well as people in your life who model good behavior, teach you life lessons, and support you unconditionally.

Conversely, there are people with lots of money, who may be poor in spirit or in friendship. Money can make life run smoothly, but it doesn't absolve you of loneliness, give you internal fortitude when times are tough, or enrich your life with faith, joy or love.

A client we helped several times over a period of years lived with fragile financial resources, but had a happy spirit and the tenacity to keep going and push her children to achieve academically. She also had a firm faith in God's daily presence in her life. She was poor in one thing - money - but wealthy in so many other ways.

Sometimes I think it's healthy to pause and account for all the non-monetary blessings in our lives and to set goals for accumulating more of these riches: patience, compassion, joy, friendship and love.

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