My daughter wrote a paper this week on the homeless population that she encountered while volunteering at the Dream Center in Los Angeles in 2006. In terms of sentence structure and spelling it was a rough draft. The thoughts and feelings, however, inspired me and brought tears to my eyes. As parents, we try and give our children opportunities that will help them learn and grow. When she had returned from that trip, we got a few stories, but relatively little feedback. Now, a year and a half later, she is standing in our kitchen, deeply touched as she recalls the people she met and the lessons she learned.
She writes, "I became comfortable and sat in the dirt, for there, I felt at peace. They told me stories and accepted me in as if I was no different from them. I have never seen happier people in my life. These people did not need material things to be happy. They genuinely loved life."
About a month ago, I picked up a book entitled Life is Short – Wear Your Party Pants by Loretta LaRoche. Although I have not finished reading it yet, there is one line that has stuck with me from the introduction! "They (our parents and grandparents) lived a life of scarcity, but had inner abundance. We live a life of abundance, but too many of us live with inner scarcity."
That statement pierced my heart as its truth resounded. It is what I have been trying to communicate to our children for the last 20 years. Abundance is not how much we own, but how much we appreciate. When it comes right down to it, so much of what we really appreciate is not material possessions at all. What we really value, is not our ‘stuff,’ but our relationships and our freedoms. Inner abundance does not clutter or overwhelm our lives. It nourishes us, cultivating peace and a contentedness beyond understanding.
There is no doubt that these are challenging times. May we be diligent to accumulate inner abundance represented by strong hearts and faithful spirits. May we be willing to let stuff go, holding tight to those we love and value. I will hold on to what is necessary and to what best defines my life for my children and generations to come. (So hard to get rid of my books and scrapbooking supplies!) May we be willing to share whatever we have with others, whether that be from our heart or from our cupboards. May we find that in others that makes them truly ‘rich’ and encourage them along the way. May we determine to live, not with a scarcity of spirit, but a fulness instead.