A group of folks gathered for a community dinner Monday evening were talking about what they would do with the money if they won the latest Powerball jackpot. I knew I wouldn't be the next winner, since I don't buy Powerball tickets, but it was still interesting to hear what these other people dreamed about doing, if only...
What was the final Powerball jackpot total? One-point-something billion? I can't even think in numbers that large. I don't think anyone really can, except maybe a U.S. President or Congressman, or an evolutionary theorist, or an astrophysicist.
I was driving home from an awesome yoga class this morning and I was thinking how traumatic it would be to suddenly be responsible for such an astronomical amount of money.
I have my brain wrapped around the tasks I need to accomplish today - clean the bathrooms, shop for groceries, run Helen to piano lessons, read several pages in geography. The sun is shining, and I am looking forward to the day ahead and to checking things off my ToDo list.
This P.B. winner, on the other hand, whoever it is, has had their entire day - week, year, life - suddenly turned upside down. What do they need to do first? Next? Next week?
Tonight, I will sleep in my bed, relatively free of worry or stress, with no fear of con men, grasping relatives, or thieves. I have little - but I also have little to fear.
I can only imagine that this P.B. winner, after the initial thrill passes, will have a thousand-thousand worries and fears to negotiate.
Anyway, back to the group gathered for dinner on Monday evening...
It kind of amazes me how generous we all are with money we don't actually have. We spend potential money generously - donations to charities, trust funds for grandkids, church building programs, humanitarian aid, etc. We spend "someone else's" money with equal ease. (Perhaps this is why Presidents and Congressmen can speak the word "billion" so casually?)
But what about the financial resources we actually do have? Are we as generous with those funds?
Personally, I don't have to do the hard work of figuring out how to divide billions of dollars between family members, trust funds, business investments, missions organizations, and local and international social enterprises.
What I do have to do is the hard work of figuring out how to most wisely use the $50 I made last week selling books.
It's such a small amount - $50. So small that I am inclined to think the best thing to do is to hold onto it tightly. Keep it to myself. Bury it in the ground, so to speak, until the Master of the house returns.
I suppose it might be easy to be generous with a billion dollars to spend. But with only $50, I must be tightfisted, grasping, protective.
Except that, I strongly suspect that if I am ungenerous with $50, I would probably also be ungenerous with a billion.
I don't want to live my life speculating about what I would do with a boatload of money, if only...
I want to do something harder.
Forget the Powerball lottery. I'm truly not interested in winning some ginormous jackpot.
No, I want to know real power, the power of living with open hands now - with the resources that have actually been entrusted to me.
3 months ago