Wealth of Relations

 

Courtesy dePlicque.net

 

What does it mean to prosper?

My brain has been asking this for two days.

As a society, we tend to emphasize tangible cues: nice cars, spacious houses and fine dining. Somehow, the measure of success is tied to our ability to consume goods and services, to splash cash on whatever we choose whenever the urge strikes. This kind of thinking eventually boils life down to one mind-rattling question:

If I can’t buy anything, can I do well?

There are few experiences a person can have more frightening than being unable to cover expenses. In those moments when pennies are being rationed from one month to the next, it is challenging for an individual to separate financial concerns from personal identity.

We have to remember what lasts.

As the bank account hovers near zero, all that can be held on to is what makes us timeless. Oftentimes, the last bastion of hope is found in our relationships, the one thing certain to have a life beyond us. When the time comes to slog off for the next soul-crushing shift, the affection we feel — for or from someone — can give us the energy to keep going.

I do my best to have good days and great days.

Sometimes that is difficult.

In high and low times, there are three words you can be certain I will always say if asked “How are you?”

“Alive and loved,” is my reflexive reply. More than I care to admit, that’s been all I could say. With little, if any, money to my name, I have uttered the phrase with a weak smile in an effort to seem optimistic about what the future holds.

On reflection, it is full of striking power.

I have strong bonds with a wonderful family and tremendous friends.

I have another day to show those people — and maybe some others — I care.

That’s wealth that cannot be lost.

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