How Rich Are You?

Today I got to sleep in, voted in our municipal elections, found a sweet deal on new running shoes and bought them, worked out at the gym, practiced for a wedding gig tomorrow, went to a potluck picnic with my parents, and just finished working on my envelope job for tonight (at almost 2 AM).

Nothing spectacular, right? Yet as I was driving “into town” to shop, I was acutely aware of how cheerfully the sun was shining and making the world bright, the wheat growing in a field along the road, though brown and dry, looked beautifully American, and the temperature was warm and breezy. It just felt awesome to be alive in that moment. I was extremely pleased to find a new pair of Reebok shoes that were originally priced at $99.94 and I paid $32.44 for them…plus they look COOL. It was awesome working out in my fab new shoes, and I had fun playing my violin after coming home.

This picnic we went to was relaxing, and I fell in love with this family’s backyard. I want something like that someday, complete with our “dream house”! (Post-military, of course…so we have plenty of time to dream!) There were large trees, creating shade for the hot Texas summers…off one of them hung homemade swings for the kids (which I tried out – great fun!)…brightly-colored patio furniture dotted the yard…and fresh flowers in vases decorated the picnic tables. As the sun went down and it grew dark, white Christmas lights were turned on and illuminated the edges of the yard, creating a homey ambiance. It was just perfect! AND I was able to eat the food without getting “glutened” (eating food with hidden gluten in it, which would make me feel icky).

I haven’t really gotten to the title of this blog post yet…as I was driving along to the store, this title occurred to me: How Rich Are You? In our culture, we are constantly wanting more, wishing we had this or that, trying to keep up with the Jones’s, never satisfied. But do any of us realize just how rich we are? I’m driving a paid-for car that is under 3 years old; I’m living in a nice house with my family and will be marrying a man with a steady job; I eat healthful food every day, every meal; I have a closet, shelves, and drawers full of clothes; I’m sitting at an iMac computer typing this blog; I have a full-time job AND several side-jobs that provide me with a steady income to pay off my student loans (totaling $91,109.74….my debt is down from over $140,000 less than three years ago). I’m flying up north at the end of the week to use a week’s worth of PAID vacation to spend time The Warrior and his family on his block leave; I was smart enough to discover the reason for my health problems – eating gluten- and can now live the rest of my life without stomach problems and joint pain, no medication needed; I have a steadily-growing savings fund to help pay for our wedding; I have fantastic co-workers that were extremely supportive during deployment; I have a wonderful fiancé who was given the gift of coming home safely from Afghanistan; and best of all, I have a Faith and Love that can never be taken away from me.

With all this, how can I complain about anything, ever? I may not wear designer clothes, drive a Mercedes, have the average wedding budget of $28,000, or have reached the pinnacle of holiness. But I can dress attractively and fashionably, my car runs and has AC, and I am marrying the man I’ve been waiting for my whole life, the person I love with all my heart, who will walk with me the rest of our lives on the path to our ultimate Home.

The gist of this ran through my head as I drove and I wanted to write it down…but again, terribly inadequately – things always seem more eloquent in my head. I am just so thankful for life. The Warrior being deployed and coming back safely, and knowing that things could have easily turned out differently, has helped me to look at the world in a more thankful way. Just him coming back to me is enough to make me feel rich, in a way that money or possessions never can.

I’ve never posted a picture of The Warrior here, since he’s been deployed and I didn’t want to compromise his safety. But here he is seeing my family’s collie for the first time after returning from Afghanistan. This is priceless!! :)

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