In today’s world wealth is often determined by the size of our financial portfolio, the square footage of our home, luxurious furnishings, the car we drive; the amassing of material belongings. Success is measured by status, wealth, position, and prestige. We have arrived when we belong to the country club, have a membership at the spa, travel first class, or attend black tie events.
My husband and I have worked hard for 28 years, raised 8 children, scraped to get by, and we have finally struck it rich. We are successful and our wealth grows daily. Wealth is having all three leaves in my table and 8 children, spouses, and grandchildren sitting around it sharing a meal together. Wealth is sippy cups in the cupboard, toys in the yard, a basket of story books for grandchildren who come to visit, and a van with integrated child seats. Wealth is a walk in the yard with a grandchild, sharing the wonder of ripening raspberries, tiny apples, budding roses, and sprouting vegetables. Wealth is the laughter of little ones, rocking grandchildren to sleep, and a little voice saying, “I love you Grandma”. Our home is not large or fancy, but it is often filled with children and grandchildren, love and laughter.
I am not famous, I am not a CEO of a large company, I’m not even well known, but I consider myself to be very successful. Success is having grown children who come home to visit. Success is seeing children who grew up with intense sibling rivalry arrange to get together as families to enjoy a Saturday. Success is watching our children live the gospel in their homes. Success is children who maintain relationships with each other over the years and across the miles.
Success is three year old cousins hugging each other goodbye as they leave grandma’s house. We have 5 married children, 4 of whom are college graduates, wonderful sons and daughters in law, 8 grandchildren, and 3 children who are single, striving to become responsible, independent adults. What started out as two people in love has become a crowd of 23 wonderful people called family, and we have only just begun.
We have no stocks or bonds, no vacation property, our newest car is 7 years old, and we live in what realtors today would call a starter home. We have no memberships in clubs, we don’t go to the spa, fine dinning is a barbecue in the back yard, and the closest we come to culture is attending new exhibits at our local museum. By monetary measures, we are definitely not wealthy or successful. I’m not sure we would even be considered middle class by today’s standards, but in my opinion we are incredibly rich.