Not to brag, but I’m quite affluent.
Oh not in money, or “stuff.” I’m deliriously rich when it comes to love, faith and happiness.
“UGH!” some of you may groan. “Another money can’t buy happiness article.”
I’ve heard others quip, “Those who say ‘money can’t buy happiness’ probably don’t have much of either.”
But hear me out.
My wife, Laura, and I have raised our kids to get an education and not settle for less than their best, but we’ve always weaved happiness into every conversation, every hug, every dream, every laugh and every word of encouragement.
Jess, our daughter, is an RN, and was talking for a while about furthering her education to get a better job and make more money. She walked around the house talking about it for a few weeks, and then suddenly informed us she would NOT be pursing this.
“What made you change your mind?” Laura asked her.
Jess replied, “Well, I’m happy being a nurse, and I make a decent living. Besides, when does our family ever do anything for the money?”
My Grandpa and Grandma Stroud, God rest their saintly souls, didn’t have much money. After my grandpa retired, they sold their small house and moved into an apartment. When my grandpa passed away, he didn’t have much in the way of possessions or money, but people were lined up out the door at his funeral. We were heartbroken to lose him.
Same with my grandma. I recall one day she said, “I’d love to go to Europe or Spain or something, but it’s ok if I never do. I’ve got everything I need right here,” and gave me a big hug.
Their Christian faith chased away the shadows. Our family filled their days with love and laughter.
There are no shrines in our town to either of my grandparents. No bridges, libraries or fountains bear their name.
But ask their children—my mom, aunts and uncles—about “mama and daddy,” and you’ll see them smile, while tears well up in the corners of their eyes.
“She was a good mama!” my mom said. “And I sure do miss daddy. Every day I miss them both.”
“Daddy.” Any shlub can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a daddy.
But back to our little family unit. It gets crazy around our house, for sure. Ya see, while my son-in-law is getting the help he needs for addiction, Jess and her two kids, Joshy and Jenna, as well as my son, my wife and I all live together in the same madhouse.
That’s me with Joshy (wearing a T-Rex mask) and Jenna.
They put a smile on my face.
Thing is, I’ve read story after story of rich rock stars who, when being 100% honest, said life was simpler and happier before they were discovered.
People who sell their soul for money will, oft times, find it quite miserable, once their dreams have been achieved.
That’s not just ME talking; I have facts to back it up.
A new study (Published: 08 January 2018), called Happiness, Income Satiation and Turning Points Around the World (Jebb, Tay, Diener & Oishi) says, in a nutshell, as income INCREASES to “rich” status, happiness DECREASES. Their findings were that earning a great amount of money “tended to be associated with reduced life satisfaction and a lower level of well-being.”
Also, the study showed that, overall, children who are raised in wealth tend to suffer more depression, anxiety, and drug and/or alcohol abuse than those who, like my whole family, are raised in less prosperous homes.
“Money can’t buy you life.”
Bob Marley’s last words, as told to his son, Ziggy.
The Happiness study basically said the more money people make, the more they want. The more they BUY, the more they WANT to buy, and the more they realize that possessions don’t make you happy. Also, the richer they become, the more they are isolated from others. Finally, as wealth increases, so does the amount of work it takes to keep it, turning some into workaholics and, oft times, chasing away spouses and children in the process.
In the meantime, things got so nutty around my house last night you could barely hear yourself over the laughter and screams of my grandchildren. My son, Trey, was chasing Joshy through the house, and then settled down with him to play some video games. When I looked in the family room to check on them, Joshy had his head on his uncle’s shoulder, and said, “I love you, Trey.”
My granddaughter said her first sentence to Jess the other day. She smiled her HUGE smile and said, “I love you, mama!” and Jessy’s heart melted. She joked on Facebook that it’s a good thing Jenna didn’t know what she’d done to her mother’s heart, because she could’ve asked for ANYTHING at that point and probably gotten it.
I think the Beatle’s said it best: “Money can’t be me love.”
If you have happiness and laughter, you’re richer than most. Be proud of that. Money and “stuff” will eventually rot, but love is forever.
“Speaking to the people, Jesus continued, ‘Be alert and guard your heart from greed and always wishing for what you don’t have. For your life can never be measured by the amount of things you possess.'” (Luke 12:15)
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)
“” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)
“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10)