I recently had occasion to attend a local chapter meeting of a Maryland networking group of women who are promoting their small businesses–everything from life coaching to touch-healing…
The group was welcoming and empowering and diverse in its double-X chromosome-diversity. After the general announcements by the group’s founder, everyone had to rise and introduce themselves in thirty-second, timed blurbs. Most plugged their businesses. Only one detailed her credentials. Even the subsequent keynote speech was really just an infomercial for a seminar the speaker was offering (for a price) as well as her consulting services.
After the meeting, about ten of us remained at the restaurant for lunch and socializing over a long table of small (very small) plates. (As a midwestern girl with an appetite–if I order a $16 salad, I want some lettuce on the plate–just saying.)
So with little to chew, we began to talk as a group, and I noticed a recurring theme carrying over from meeting. The whole New Age thaumaturgy popularized by the international bestseller, THE SECRET.
For the uninformed, the thesis of the 2006 bestseller is that positive thinking and affirmations will cue the universe to gift one with wealth and abundance and, of course, happiness. Because as we all know, wealth and abundance = happiness, eh?
So the ladies discussed using affirmations so that the universe can deliver the goods…houses with six columns…top-of-the-line vehicles…world travel…luxury everything…
And then I opened my mouth. “Why do we define our lives by what we acquire? Why can’t we be satisfied to live in a smaller house that is perfectly adequate but doesn’t have ostentatious appointments and excessive floor space? Why can’t we be happy driving a car that is perfectly functional but not a motorized status symbol?”
As my questions lingered about the table like a ill-timed fart in church, many of the women looked at me like an purple-spotted penis just sprouted out of the center of my forehead. I hate when that happens.
Still, I did not regret my questions. As a Christian, I couldn’t just sit there and passively agree that money and power and prestige is what it’s all about. Here’s MY SECRET:
I am fighting cancer and the silver linings to my disease have been many. Here are a few of the most significant:
- Cancer has been a blessing from God. Nothing like looking death in the face to test the mettle of your faith and improve your prayer-life;
- Cancer enabled me to retire from my long teaching career earlier than I planned;
- Cancer facilitated my lifelong dream–to write full-time and, on rare occasion, to be a lady who lunches–but one with nothing to sell.
I have another secret: I’m not rich in the McMansion/Porsche department. But I am married to a man I trust and love. He makes me laugh. And feel loved. We have three sons who are bright and compassionate. We have a house and income and vehicles and more food than we can eat. There is peace and faith in our home. We have enough. We even have this framed picture hanging near our front door. It’s my mantra. And it has nothing to do with money:
So I probably won’t be going back to the women’s group–after three visits, one is compelled to join and it isn’t cheap. For me, however, once was enough. I thanked my friend who invited me to attend, then drove home knowing I’m not right for the material girls. And that’s okay.
So, to wrap this week’s post, as we fa-la-la-la-la our way through our shopping lists this Christmas season, remember a few Dickensian lessons from A CHRISTMAS CAROL:
- No one goes to their grave wishing they worked more, earned more, owned more;
- Family and friends are the real treasure, and;
- Sometimes having enough is more than enough.
Oh, and one final thought…