I confess: I am often held hostage by cultural lies, peddled by a self-centered, money-obsessed, fame-worshiping society, which, no doubt, I am part of and help keep alive.
Because every time I look out at my backyard, I see a small junkyard tangled up in weeds, with mismatched patio furniture and too many primary-colored plastic toys strewn across patchy grass that’s mostly dirt. I want a vast, green backyard that stretches for acres, and outdoor entertainment furniture that’s been handpicked by Joanna Gaines. At least, I want that for a moment—until I hear the giggles coming from the sandbox, where my children delight in pure, innocent play. They don’t care about the weeds or the furniture. They only seek love and attention, not the latest Instagram trend.
I hope as they grow up they can look beyond the superficial. Because, truly, what is the point?
What is the point of working a job where people treat you like garbage just so you can be grossly over-paid? What is the point of piling up your money in a vault or spending it all on thousand-dollar bed sheets? What is the point of filling a cabinet full of Waterford Crystal? Or a shoe closet full of Louis Vuittons?
We must all pay our bills and clothe our bodies, and I too like nice things. I care about appearances. But there is a line. Sometimes it’s hard to see where the line begins and ends. How many hours of my life does a company deserve, which takes away time I could be spending with my family? How much money in my bank account is worth destroying the earth? How many zeros at the end of a paycheck, how many titles behind a name to make the rich richer and keep criminals sitting on Capital Hill? What am I doing to serve myself that is causing other people and the planet pain?
You cannot serve two masters, as my mother reminds me, quoting Scripture. And money is a seductive ruler.
It is hard not to want, especially when advertisements glow inside my palm, and everyone, it seems, has more than I do.
Finally, after my burning desire for better and more subsides, I remind myself of what money cannot buy, what is truly invaluable and priceless: those giggles coming from the sandbox. The sight of patchy grass and stubborn weeds creeping across a safe backyard, one where my children can play in peace.
Some people only hear their children’s giggles in their mind. It echoes in their memories. Because other people loved money too much—so much that they chose their bank accounts over the greater good, and let other people die.
I listen closely to the giggles, and remind myself I am blessed with what money cannot buy.
I don’t need the other stuff.
Who cares about the weeds?
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