My hubby and I were never big money makers at our jobs, and, worse yet, we didn't seriously plan for retirement. That being said, it isn't hard to see why we must live within our means in order to stay afloat financially. We can't take cruises, visit foreign countries or indulge ourselves with expensive toys. And I'm the first to admit that there are times a little more of the paper stuff in our pockets would certainly make things a bit more convenient. But that's not what really matters in life.
Last evening, I went out on the front porch to watch the hummingbirds that visit our front porch feeder. I didn't realize it before going out, but across the street from us, a little 10-year-old boy, three of his buddies and a little girl about the same age were playing. Actually, the boys were riding their bikes and other things with wheels over a ramp they had set up on the front sidewalk, and the little girl was doing her "girl thing", cheering them on and exclaiming at their exploits. I tried not to be too obvious with my attention, but I was watching and listening the whole time. One of the little boys, tanned to a deep bronze from a summer without a shirt and sporting long hair, because who needs a haircut in the summer, was the alpha male. My attention was immediately drawn to him. He was bossing everyone around and retaliating if they didn't follow his orders to a "t". In former days, I would have developed an instant dislike for that little fellow. Too bossy. Too obviously undisciplined. Last night, though, I watched and listened. He was such a cute kid. Why did he need such attention? What was it like for him at home? Was he actually MEAN or just needing someone to notice him? I grew to like the little bully in the few minutes I sat watching the kids play. And it seemed that the group around him liked him, too, despite his overbearing ways. They were comrades on a mission. Buddies. I smiled, feeling a part of their fun and games, even from my seat on the porch.
After a while, hubby came outside with me, and we decided to take a drive and stop at the local ice cream stand for a treat. We drove up and down city streets, seeing folks sitting out on their lawns or porches. Some drinking and getting a bit rowdy, others simply enjoying time with their family or neighbors. We chatted. We were silent, simply enjoying being together.
Isn't that what life's about? I don't envy people with lots of money. Those who put their trust in lucre are going to be greatly disappointed someday. But folks who have money, yet have learned where true wealth is are the blessed ones. It isn't the "things" that you accumulate or the credits behind your name. It's all about valuing the simple things. The great Billy Graham said his one regret in life was that he hadn't spent more time with his wife and children. After a laudable life and ministry, he was still learning what's important.
The gurgle of a baby's first attempts at laughter. Little ones splashing in the tub as they costume themselves in bubbles. Kids yelling with enthusiasm as they enjoy a game of soccer in the side yard. An old couple walking hand in hand through the flower garden at the park. Being with the love of your life. Those are the things I'll remember. Those are the things I treasure.