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Wealth’s Varied Faces

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When mother came into her own bank account, and could spend it freely after my father’s passing, she confided that now, the Arabic community “thinks I’m somebody.” For mom, it was a step-up in esteem.

Others might see their money as avenues to purchase. The red sweater, the red car, a new Ipod. It is their medium of exchange, and they give very little thought to what’s really going on.

There are varied meanings we attach to the concept of money: “It’s a burden. I’d be better off without it.” So spoke teenager Susie, working at Burger King, while Nurse Sheehy confessed: “I can really say, ‘I love money.’”

At this moment, my husband is flying a glider on his computer. He’s got pedals attached, and a steering wheel in front. Jim is traveling the islands, landing and then taking off, immersed in geography, in a quiet ride through this rainy evening. His CD plays the gentlest of musical sounds. He meditates on the stars. A contentment flows in him, a kind that I hadn’t yet seen in our marriage. He wouldn’t exchange this entire experience for a home by the sea, well, maybe not a home by the sea. Yet, I don’t think anything, even his afternoon peanut butter sandwiches can satisfy him as much as flying his computer glider.

Look into your heart. What’s your meaning of wealth?


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