Saturday, March 24, 2012

Money! and reaching your goals ...

The American Dream!  
  • House?
  • Cars?
  • Vacations?
  • College for the kids?
  • Retirement?
  • Having enough?
We didn't begin this way, but these days, our kids learn early that our appropriate goal is a comfortable life.  It's ingrained in us by everything we see and hear.  Better paying jobs, home ownership, nicer cars, nicer things, retirement funding, all are the goals of our culture, and that's the way we live.

The screwballs among us like nuns and peace corps volunteers and 'doctors without borders' don't count.  They're just odd.

Everybody knows you need to pour out your life on work and material things so you can take care of yourself and your family.  You never really get enough, though.  You always want more.
None of the world's religions, none of the world's revered philosophers, and none of the folks we admire support anything like the 'American Dream' as an acceptable life purpose.
What if ...
What if we started with a different premise? What if we chose a different purpose for our lives and then reorganized our affairs accordingly?

What if we decided the most fun we could have was in being useful to others; caring, sharing, helping, being there when needed.

You could still be a teacher or an engineer or a stay-at-home mom or a bookkeeper, but your purpose would be much larger than just your occupation, and the opportunities could mushroom into great things.

Could you still have a house and car and running water and a chance for college for your kids? Sure. Nothing wrong with those. You might choose somewhat differently though, if your goal was being able to serve others. Perhaps, perhaps not.

Casa Fiz do Mundo   (homemade world!)

"Freely you have received, freely give," we're instructed, perhaps because we're not intended to squander what we're given on more stuff for ourselves.  Having too much stuff will get in the way of giving, and giving is much more fun than getting.

(Left) These young people and their friends fill a shipping container every year with essential goods, and then they send that along with a team to a place where they work really hard.  Every year, they do this.  It's hundreds and hundreds of hours of tedious work.  Curious why? 

They serve children and their families and community in a country where life is difficult.  They love doing it, too.

It's such a great joy to make a difference.  Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, ... as though they were your own family.

What would our lives look like if we chose a different purpose?  Got the guts to work through it?  I barely know how to begin.

"I'm going to pour out my life on something.  I might as well pour it out on something that makes a difference." ~ inner-city teacher