What really counts?

tornadoI just received an email from a friend with bad news.  A big storm blew through our county this week and a tree was literally blown onto her husbands car, totaling it while he was driving home.

Everyone was okay, but this event stopped me short.

It made me ask myself: What really counts?

Lately I’ve been obsessed with making more money.  Not in the greedy sense.  I don’t want to be filthy rich, I would just like to stop feeling so stretched and tight all the time.

I’ve realized that by spending wiser, we could have more money for the things we really want.  My spending habits are definitely changing, but the focus on making more money remains.

But does money really matter?

Does any of this stuff really matter?  My husband and I drive one vehicle that’s less than 2 years old.  We live in a house that could easily house a much bigger family, and we do generally have the money to invest in our hobbies: quilting and aquariums.

But does it matter?  In 10 years will I look back at the floor I installed in my den, or the afternoon I spent with my son? Will it matter that our yard looks out on our neighbor’s junkyard?  Will we look back on the years spent in this town with disgust or fondness?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a waxing sentimental.  I’m not deluded enough to think that only happy memorys of lazy summer days stick around.  I know without a shadow of doubt that my son will probably remember the bad days before he remembers the good ones.

I guess my problem is I remember growing up poor.  And I don’t want that for my son.

But was being poor really that bad?  Yeah, my clothes didn’t fit and girls at school liked to point it out.  Big deal.  Several of the girls who were shallow enough to comment ended up pregnant by the end of high school.  I guess that was nature’s way of evening the odds.

Was it the small clothes or the lack of extra money or the fact that my parents were too young and badly suited for one another?  It’s hard to tell…

No, I don’t think more money would have made our lives better, but I do think it would have eased the strain.  But again, this is me as an adult looking back on what I would change for my parents when I was a child.  Rather silly and completely implausible.

It makes me wonder though.  What will my son think of me when he’s 25?  What will really count to him?  What will have left the biggest impressions?

If he grows up poor, will he focus determinately on becoming rich?  If he grows up rich will he take it for granted?  Will he hate the money and privilege we’ve worked so hard for?

I can’t answer these questions, but I do know what really counts.

Love for myself.  Love for my husband. Love for my son.  Love for my family and friends.

You can’t eat love.  It won’t feed the hungry or clothe the poor.  But it is what really truly counts.

To love,

Leah

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