"Wealth consists not in having great possessions but in having few wants." ~ Esther de Waal, author of Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict
Trish Scott, one of the readers of this blog (and a wonderful blogger herself), recently left a comment that got me thinking and connecting some disparate dots that have been showing up in my life. She asked me to consider how I might feel about leaving empty moments empty for a little while. Especially during this time of year, there is an urge and a propensity to fill up everything to the brim: stockings, large holiday dinner plates, space under the tree, our schedules, and the list goes on. Hurry hurry hurry - Christmas is only x number of days away and you're in your house missing out on all the cheer outside of your door. No wonder we all settle down for a long winter's nap on December 26th. We're exhausted! So what if we could just sit, for a moment, and be glad to feel a little empty? What would that do for us?
This Christmas I didn't make a wish list. For the first time ever I realized I am rich because there isn't anything I need that I don't already have. I'm now exactly where I always wanted to be in my financial life. I don't want for anything; I feel steady and secure financially, despite that the economy is in constant turmoil. With this thought, I felt a tidal wave of gratitude. By Esther de Waal's beautiful definition of wealth, I am rich. I sat for a moment today and took that feeling in. After so many years of working so hard, wanting so much to not worry about money, I realized I had arrived at my destination. Today, I got there. My heart started humming.
And then I took a look at my busy December. I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to see. I didn't get to every outing I was invited to, nor every holiday gathering. I had to take some time for myself, and to do some selfless volunteer work which is so needed at this time of year. So I missed out on some experiences. And yet, I feel so extraordinarily lucky that I have so many incredible people in my life to spend my time with, that I have so many projects that I am happy to spend my time on, that I have places to be where I am needed and wanted. I sat for a moment today and took that feeling in. About this time 7 years ago, I decided to leave my job to settle in one place and start to build a life, a community where I felt like I belonged. Today, I realized I had gotten exactly that after so many years of building. What an amazing feat! My heart began to sing.
So now we wait indoors for the Blizzard of 2009 to arrive any minute. We're supposed to be snowed in with 12 inches of gorgeous, puffy, white snowflakes. Let it be. Snow me in, world. Make me sit down and reflect on the many, many blessings I have in my life. Some of them were hard won, and others showed up like little miracles from thin air. For all of them I am thankful. So here I'll sit for a bit today, sip some tea, listen to Christmas carols, light a candle that smells like cinnamon, and be glad to just be right here, right now, pinching myself to make sure that this rich and magical life I lead is real.