Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fear of the lost

There are two young, elementary school aged girls that moved in across the street about a month ago. Their mom kicks butt doing a million things for her family, driving from here (nearly Woodbury), to the U of MN, to Saint Loius Park and to Wayzata almost daily. Talk about a DAY. Her girls are just the sweetest! They love to come over and spend some time in our garden and try new foods. We gave them a jar of our pickles and OOOh they loved them some pickles!

Since school started I hadn't seen the girls as much, and I was starting to miss them. Wouldn't you know it they showed up at our house today, with a friend, wanting to see our chickens and check on our cucumbers and of course, ask for more pickles! We couldn't spend a lot of time with them because the girls had to get ready for bed, but it sure was nice to see them again. I got lots of hugs and laughs.

About half an hour after we sent them on their way back home with some cucumbers I hear a voice yelling for me….. FROM the street!!


OOOH no, no, no, NO. I am NOT about to go answer someone who is howling for me from the street, I though to myself

"girl, get your butt up here if you wanna talk to me!".

 I started practicing in my head how I was going to gently but firmly have the conversation about how to get my attention - and that yelling my name from the street is not the proper way..come up and knock for me. The yelling stopped and about 30 seconds later I heard the soft patter of a timid elementary school girl knocking at my door. So I went to answer, speech recited and ready…but when I opened the door it was not at all who I expected. It was not one of the neighbor girls, instead it was their friend from down the street, and she looked like she's about to burst out in tears.

She first asked me if I have the girls phone number, I don't.
I ask her why, and she says that she forgot her glasses and can't go home without them. She looks really scared, so I invite her to sit down with me for a minute.

We talk about what happened, how losing things is an easy mistake (umm…if you know me, you know I am the PERFECT person to be talking to about mis-placed things). She tells me her mom is going to be really mad because she just got the glasses today. I remind her again that it's so easy to forget things, and they aren't lost forever. I try to coach her through how she could break it to her mom,  and just try to free her of the guilt and lie that she is irresponsible because she did an easy thing and forgot something…but she is very scared still. I feel a little lost for words, and then I remember something that happened to me when I was 6 or 7, that changed my life.

My mom had just come back from a trip to Florida with her boyfriend at the time. She brought me home this beautiful mini-mouse ring that I was just OBSESSED with. She said she spent A LOT of money on it, so I could only wear it around the house, but of course I was just going to die if I didn't wear it everywhere I went. So through my convincing near-death tantrums I convinced her to let me wear it to school.

At recess, I loved to do the monkey bars, and the ring was really getting in my way! It was cutting into my fingers so logically, I took it off and put it in my pocket. Well, two minutes later I was swinging upside down on the monkey bars, two minutes after that I was running all around the playground and at the end of recess, I went to get the ring out of my pocket and just about died again when it wasn't there.

I started freaking out. Frantically I just dropped to my knees in panic and started digging. Then I realized our whole playground was covered in PEBBLES. Then I realized that kids had been running around all over for the past 25 minutes kicking the pebbles around everywhere, so it probably wasn't even where it dropped - wherever that was! I realized I started recess at the monkey bars and then ran around too, so it could be anywhere! This little ring was SOMEWHERE in the midst of millions of small grey pebbles.

I just started crying. And digging. And sobbing, and crying and digging. I was sad I lost the ring, but I feared even more how my mom was going to react when I had to tell her I lost it on the first day that I ever brought it to school. Goodness, I must have looked a mess because one of the teacher aids came over and asked me to take a deep breath with her and then asked what was wrong. I told her everything and just couldn't stop crying. Then she asked me something that changed my life.

She asked me if I believed in God. I did, so I nodded yes. Then she asked me if I'd like to pray with her. I said I didn't know how, so she asked me if she could pray for me. She said praying is just telling God how you're feeling, that you're sorry for any mistake that you might have made, and then asking for help. So she prayed for me like this, "God, Sophia is feeling really scared and sad that she lost her ring. She is really sorry that she lost it. Could you please help her find it?" Then I started asking God to help me "please, please help me find it God! Please, please help me!". Then I remembered that I went upside-down on the monkey bars so I ran over to the monkey bars and started digging.

And digging.

….and digging.

And just when I thought I should give up, just when I was about to lose hope and give up on God and all of this nonsense..I found it!! I found that ring!

In that moment I couldn't believe God cared enough to help me find that ring in those millions of rocks. Maybe it wasn't the prayer that helped me, honestly if the teacher hadn't come over I wouldn't have had the courage to even keep looking, her mere encouragement helped me persist in looking and then find it. But I believe it was a miracle I found that ring that day, and I have looked back on that moment over and over in my faith walk and remembered that God DOES care about the small things in our lives. It has reminded me to press on in hard times, even when things much bigger than rings were at stake.

That's how faith works, if you put your faith in God in the small things, you build strength and are better able to have faith with the big things.

So today, when this little girl was at my doorstep, full of fear over having had fun with her friends and forgetting about her glasses, and when I was lost for words at what to say, a still small voice came to me and nudged me to pray with this girl. I get really uncomfortable asking people if I can pray for them because…well people have used it as a weapon before and it makes people uncomfortable. But kids seem different. I felt like I could ask her and she wouldn't think I was trying to convert her or condemn her or do anything weird to her. I just remembered the boldness of that teacher who helped me find that ring, how that impacted my life, and I saw so many parallels. It honestly was the best thing I could think to do in the situation, and was what felt natural for me. If I were in her shoes with no other logical ways of solving the problem on my own then I would pray. Why shouldn't I share that with her now? So, after mustering up a lot of courage I asked her.

"Do you go to church?"

… Immediately I almost regretted asking. I thought to myself'…"ugh, I don't really feel up for telling a child aalllll about God for the first time here, really? ugh!!! Goddddd, really???….Ok, I guess I could give an abridged version if I havee to…"

"Do you believe in God?"

To which she nodded a big and strong yes. This was a HUGE relief to me. WHEW. Dodged that one!

So I asked her if she wanted to pray about it, she said yes so we sat on my stoop and prayed. I made sure to emphasize how it's part of being human to make mistakes, and that it's ok because God loves us no matter how big or small they are. I emphasized how much he loves us, how he came to help us with our mistakes, that he wants to help us heal our mistakes and learn from them so that we don't hurt anymore…how he loves us no matter what….lots of that. I was really honest, and straight forward, and just said what was on my heart for her. I didn't really know how it would work out but, I believed that God cared about this situation just as much as he cared about my ring, and he WOULD show up, somehow.

After praying I asked how she felt and she said better. She still wasn't ready to go home yet, she was still a little scared so I told her I would sit with her as long as she needed, until she was feeling brave enough to go home.

We started talking about the dogs next door, and talking about maybe first mustering up some courage to go pet them. Just as she was about to get up to go, the neighbors came home! Her face lit up, she was so excited that the neighbors came home, now she could get her glasses and go home without getting in trouble. I said "hey! Prayer works! go get your glasses now"
She gave me a HUGE hug, said thank you and ran off.

It was a moment of light. Maybe it was just chance that they came home when they did, but if we hand't taken the time to pray she may not have been there when they arrived. It was beautiful.

Tonight was a gift for me, and it made me realize that I want to continue to just be present here, living with a mission. I don't need to be meeting people in prayer every day, that's not what I think it means to live missionally. God is in the small things, and God works through us. To me, that means you have to be there for people, in the small things, if you want to really love them. I believe that God is happy when we are loving towards one another, when we show up in peoples lives the way God shows up in ours. Its through these relationships that we come to know God, and so it is through relationships that others come to know God. Not through a prayer to 'save them' or get them 'converted'. It's not about being in the club or out of the club, or even having the right thing to say or knowing all the answers. It's about having a safe space to bring the small things, to know that they matter no matter how small. Having a space to feel safe to bring the small things opens us up to trust that maybe we can also bring the big things - and that means maybe we can bring our whole, true selves. And that - our Wholeness, our Trueness, our Real self is what I believe God really wants us to bring everywhere we go. I think that's why He seeks us so much, because he knows how beautiful we are when we are Whole, and He desperately wants us to be Whole.

I love where we live. It may not be the fanciest neighborhood or the closest to great shops and restaurants (although there are a few around here), but the encounters I have with people here just make this place feel so amazing to me. Today I had an encounter with a young girl from our neighborhood that affirmed to me that there's something special about being right where we are, right now.

Where I live, I am finding people who are open to being connected, open to sharing small things - and I am sharing too. It's this sharing, these relationships, that I love most about where I live. It's in this way I feel we are finally living that mission-loving our neighbors, living in solidarity in the small things. Not to 'convert people', but to really love them - because love is the real gift of God.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Active Resistance

SILENTIUM (Radix Agens Resistentiam)

Stillness, silence, peacefulness and quiet
            deep in our spirit

That is the true path to achieve sustainable, effective resistance
The path to everlasting peace

It is not to fight or retaliate

It is deep in that quiet space of surrender
To a Spirit that is greater
where evil flees
And good
not only takes root
but fully blooms

It may look strange
appear irrational
to be still
            to be silent

But it produces beauty unheard of

In heaven above

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Letting love in

Sometimes I fear claiming that I'm a Christian when I introduce myself as a Christian.  I don't fear Christ or claiming him as lord of my life - don't get me wrong that is a gift I bear with humility and honor.

It's just that, well, the word "Christian" means a whole lot of different things to people.

To some it means anti-gay, judgmental, righteous, pious…the list goes on. If you've read any of my former posts you probably have an idea of how I feel about some of this.

To be honest, I have found a lot of 'Christians' who are almost sick over the reputation the Church has today for being anything but loving and Christ like. We feel really, really misunderstood. I've wondered many times "if other Christians feel like this, then why do we have the reputation we have?"

I think a lot of it is there are people out there who claim the label "Christianity" but stop there. They believe salvation is about knowing the right things, having said the right prayer, having the ''right answers''. But it's not about head knowledge, or about how right you are or how well you know the Bible.

It's about having a real, authentic relationship with the Living God - the God who is Love. Sure, reading the Bible and putting the word on your heart can be one way you grow in your relationship with the God who created you, but just because you know the Bible doesn't mean you know God. Indeed, even Satan knows all of the right answers and probably all of the scriptures- even the forces that oppose love know all the right answers about love but, do they let love in? Do they let love teach them, permeate their being, humble them and mold them into living and existing in a way that is different from their own self-centered desires? No.

And that, I believe, is part of it. When "Christians" get caught up in having the "right" answers- we forget that whether we know the "right" answer isn't what matters - loving is. Really loving.

To me, being a "Christian" means living my life with the God of Love at the center - which means putting love at the center of my life. Not just a romantic love, but an other-oriented sacrificial kind of love- the kind of love Jesus showed us. The kind of love us messy, judgmental, pious, selfish, self centered beings don't deserve but desperately need and yearn for. Love without limits or expectation.

Which is why I was really moved by this sermon on Romans 10. Greg says it better than I ever could.

If you're healing from a misinterpretation of what it means to be Christian or Christ like, or just curious why all the "Christians" look nothing like Jesus - well it just might mean something to you too.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

From the archives

I wrote the following, years ago in college, to a friend who I thought of often. However, once I finished writing it I realized it might be better for me to hold on to.

Well, I found it while rummaging through some things and I felt compelled to record it here, to share, and also to preserve it.

Pursue your dreams. 
Follow your ambitions. 

Within you, you have a fire that burns to know the world, to love without limits, and to give with no boundaries. But you have seen beyond your own front steps- and while your family and friends have always been behind you, you have realized that the world is not always as supportive or inviting as you once thought, and it has shifted something within you. 
    Wherever you go int he world though, you are bound to find some hostility, or some form of evil - even in your own back yard. Don't be discouraged. Your spirit is strong, and I know that you have more than just potential. As long as you keep these things in mind, and are cautions - protecting your spirit when needed so that you don't fall into the pit of hostility that walks this earth, even when faced with overwhelming amounts - you will rise.
    I know this world has shown you a lot of pain, but you know you have always been blessed. Sometimes it's easier to acknowledge the painful or hurtful things, but if you open your eyes and learn to acknowledge and sit with pain- you can look past it and see the beauty that lies right in front of your eyes. 

Before you're gone. 

Before you're looking back.

And in this I hope you learn to see true beauty and find true happiness. 

As you go forward into your life, you will inevitably find challenges and sorrow, but if you sit with them in peace, and push yourself forward, I hope you will be able to see how pain and happiness live in equilibrium.

Yes, you have had challenges; but it could be worse.
Yes, you have been blessed; but it could be better.

Don't be set back by these statements, these truths of life. 
Instead, take comfort because whatever you do wrong, can always be improved. And the reminder that it could be worse, should remind you how fleeting life can be.

Everything you have is a blessing to be appreciated - so open your eyes and appreciate.

Not tomorrow, now what you will have and what you have had, but what you have - where you are now. Right now.

The breeze on your face.
The colors of the sunset.
The simplicity of "hello", a good song on the radio.
Start noticing the small good things, and hopefully one day you will realize that what you acknowledge in your life is what you will live out. 

So as you go forward, live out your life to its fullest.
Know your past is just as much a part of your life as your future, but nothing is as important as the moment you're in.

Know that just because you're moving forward does not bring you further away from the moments you've been in, don't hang on to them - afraid to lose them. Instead, let your past precious moments lead you fully into where you are now. 

And always, you will have your roots beneath you, the world around you, and endless possibilities ahead of you.

So go forth into your life - not your future but every moment, and when you find yourself in a happy state take a deep breath to embrace it.
Step into it with everything you have.
And in hard times, remember your breath while stepping forward to search for the next time it surrounds you, because I tell you with confidence:

Whatever you look for, you will find.

What you see is up to your eyes to decide, and how you live is up for you to pursue. 

Knowing what you want in life isn't the hard part - letting yourself have it is. 

Let yourself have it, you deserve the best this world can give and you're the only one who can take it.

Don't hold back.

happy birthday - happy every day.

Love always,

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Judging Love

Have you heard this before "It's because I love them that I am telling them about their sin"?

Or something like it?

I have.

Look, there's not a Christian I know that would deny that God loves us, all of us. Christ came to teach us about Gods love. Indeed, according to Jesus, the greatest commandment is "Love thy neighbor as thyself". Paul writes that God IS love. Throughout the old and especially the new testament, we learn of Gods love, for he SO loved the world that He gave His only son. That's how we know what Love is.

This is not a new revelation, this is not hard to understand - but it's so hard to manifest. It's so hard to remove judgement. And Christ taught, definitely taught, against judgement (Matthew 7:1). God alone, is to be judge (Psalm 7:11).

However, I often hide behind what I like to call loving judgement, and I don't think I'm the only one.

You see, even though Christ said to love others like the Father loves them - without judgement; even though He tells me to pour my love on everyone, like God lets the rain fall (Matthew 5:45)- on the believers, the non-believers, the Christians, the non-Christians, homosexuals, heterosexuals, drug-free and addicted, the similar-to-me, the 'others', the 'terrorists', the 'anti-terrorists', the warriors, the peacemakers... I don't let it fall like rain.

Instead, I judge.

But look, judgement doesn't always look like a 'nasty thought'. It can look like a prayer.

Lots of times, the prayer looks like this "Lord, save those people, help them change", "Lord, fix them and teach them to turn from their sin".

Now, these prayers in themselves are not bad prayers. Indeed, if out of relationship a person has asked you to pray for them, and this is what the spirit leads you to say - it is a very very powerful prayer that SHOULD be prayed. Maybe it's for your children, or your good friend, or your co-worker, or even a stranger you just met, who has invited you into their life - or maybe its someone whose life you are a part of because God placed you in relationship with them. Yes, in these times, pray these prayers fervently - they are loving.

The judgement pours out of me when I don't know the person who I am praying for. When, without knowing them at all, I decide that I see something that I am assuming they need to fix, or repent from. I fail to see them as God sees them - as already perfect, as already clean, as already redeemed - and then I am falling into judgement. I tell myself that it is because I love them, that I want them to change and so out of love I am praying for them - but without relationship and without invitation - it's just judgement hiding behind love. This is not love falling like rain.

You see, I hide behind judgmental love, and love with judgement is first, judgement.

I don't think I am the only one.

Throughout history, I  believe, this is one way that we, the Church, have pushed people away from God. To put judgement before love is to put Gods commandment to love out of place. You see, when we put judgement before love, we tell people that their sin is bigger than their beauty.We communicate a message to them that because their robes are dirty, they cannot come before God. And so, many many people today are afraid to turn to God, or have denied him completely. But God says NO! I can change your robes, I can make you clean, come to me and I WILL WASH YOU, I WILL CHANGE YOU. I love you.

First, comes love. If we put love first, judgement disappears. If we were to let love fall like rain, we would enter into relationship with people before we prayed for their transformation. Then, after pointing out to them how infinitely valuable they are, how perfectly they were made, how much God has sought after them - even in their sin - if we're blessed enough, maybe the would invite us to pray for the deep, dark wounds that lead them into sin to be healed. Here, is where we can pray the powerful prayer of "Lord, save them from this sin, help them change". And then, the Spirit works.

 Imagine if, as the Church, we all made a daily effort to simply love others, to enter into relationship with them, to have them invite us into the deepest parts of themselves that they are fearing to share before we decide they need fixing. Imagine if we let the Spirit lead them into their own revelation of what need healing. Imagine if we were able to understand the depths of a persons hurt - and then enter into that hurt in solidarity and pray.  Instead of pushing people away by pointing out their flaws as strangers, we could help bring a hearts-yearning and desire to be changed directly to God as brothers and sisters- and there, the Lord will meet them. There, the Lord will transform them. There, we can love them.

Can we put away judging love, and simply love?


Lately I've been struggling with a little anxiety about the future and simultaneously been feeling overwhelmed in the present. Each of these worries has sent me in a vicious thought cycle. First, I feel overwhelmed with the present, so I look to the future. Looking to the future makes me wonder how we will ever 'make it' after I'm out of school, and we're paying back a ton of debt while simultaneously trying to start a practice (which is another huge risk) or find full-time work, while keeping a roof over our heads, food on the table, raising kids, having time for ourselves, showering. So of course, I get anxious, which brings me back to thinking about the present, and I wonder how we are ever going to expect to make it THEN when we're 'scraping by' now. How in the world are we ever going to get done all of the things we need to get done now, financially sustain ourselves, and still have time for ourselves at the end of the day? I have no idea, so back to dreaming about the future...which leads to worrying about the future...which leads to thinking about the past.... you get the picture.

You know, I don't think I'm the first to ride this roller coaster.

In today's first-world, modern-times, we're overwhelmed with messages that tell us what it should look like to be successful. It means having a certain kind of house, providing a certain kind of home for your family, having a certain level of income, a certain amount of free time, and a lot of things you should be able to buy on a whim whenever you need them. Not only that, but we're expected to update those things - wardrobes, phones, furniture, dishes, cars, computers, shoes, hairstyles, foods, TV-shows, movies, holiday decorations, you name it- and get it now, on a whim. And if you can't keep up, well, you know - it's actually going to be OK.

You see, after going on this roller coaster ride in my head I realized (finally!) that the root of my anxiety is that I'm choosing to see what I 'lack' or might one-day lack, rather than remembering and realizing the abundance that fills my life.

First of all, I need to remember that I've got it good, I mean real good. Re-focusing this has changed my perspective.

In this cycle of worry I met with a friend and neighbor, a woman who inspires me in every way, Sandra Ungor, and she helped me remember that everything is a phase, and re-focus to the abundance in my life. Then I read an article in Conspire Magazine called Wealth and Worry, and that too helped me shift more fully into a different way of looking at the water glass.

The article talked about Luke chapter 12:15-31 (see below for the full passage).
In short, this passage talks about a rich man who has an abundance, but is worried about what he might not have int he future. So he tears down his current store houses and builds new, BIGGER and BETTER store houses to store his grain and wealth.

This is me. You see, I have an abundance of gifts- from my family, to my health, to my wealth, not exactly my bank account though ;) (although just the fact that I have a bank account shows that I have a certain extent of wealth), my safety, my home, my clothes..you name it! I have so much. Yet, somehow I want to store up more to ensure that I can be merry, relax and enjoy the future. When my brothers and sisters around the world don't have one-tenth of the luxuries I have I am still discontented and wanting more.

And I realize, that this discontentment is also a choice.
Really, where would it stop? at what point would I truly be content?
I have all my basic needs provided for and more, and yet I keep striving for bigger, more, better, 'guaranteed'.

Have I forgotten that God has always, always, always been there? Always provided? How many times did a check come in the mail (randomly and unexpectedly) just in the nick of time, when my account was almost to zero? Am I not on a 100% tuition paid scholarship to pursue my dream goal? Who got me that?! How many times did I 'wish' for something, only to find it free on the side of the road a few days or weeks later? How many times did I wish for an experience only to live it out shortly after? When did God not ever show up, and like he does with 'the birds of the air' care for me and my needs? Not only my needs but my selfish desires, and luxurious wishes? WHo am I to be discontent?

But I can't be mad at myself. That does no one any good. No, I just have to realize that I did the most human thing (since the fall) - I am forgetting WHO God is, that I am His child, and that although I don't deserve it He will provide.

But what does this mean for those who are living, for example, in disaster right now? In the Philippines? In the slums? In abuse? In hunger? In fear? In tragedy and sadness, brokenness and pain? Sickness? Why should I expect God to provide for me when there's nothing more special about me than those brothers and sisters, and well - look at their situation? Doesn't their suffering prove that God can't provide for all of us? That He can't protect us from pain, and suffering, disaster, terrible situations? SHouldn't we store up all we have to help make sure we don't become "like them"? OR at least do all we can to ensure as best as we can we don't get closer than we have to?

Luke 12:15-31 as recorded by (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+12&version=NIV)
15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom,and these things will be given to you as well.

I've got a reliable, loving, dependable, God-seeking husband who helps me in every aspect of my life and is committed to me and our children. That right there - is more than 24,718,000 other children in the US who are raised in single-parent households have, not to mention the millions of single-parents who are raising them.  Beyond that, there are billions more single-parents, orphans, widows, and widowers in the world. I am among the minority, in that I'm not alone, I have a dependable loving caring gentile God-loving husband who is alive and present. Yes. I've got it good.

Now lets talk about my financial situation.
Ok, no we don't make a lot of money but wealth is more than just the income or your money in the bank. I come from middle and upper class families that are never going to let me fall down, and support us now so we can "have it easy" while we pursue our own privilege to "improve ourselves".  Again, I am in the minority. Not only do I have family to support me if anything 'goes wrong', but I have the privilege and the option to pursue an education. Or not. It's my choice, which is the most profound part of it all.

You know, I could keep going on about my wealth: my health, my opportunity, the safety of my home, and place I live, the support system I have, the ability to pursue opportunities that arise.

When I concentrate on the abundance, everything else melts.

What is the cost?


You know, I'm not exactly good with it.
As I write this, things are tight, and by tight I mean...ttiiight.

It's funny, as the bank account fades and dwindles down, a part of me is just, not worried.

I look at my children and I realize that maybe the number in the bank account is low, but that doesn't define the worth and beauty of my children. And it doesn't define the worth of me or my life either.

I realize, we might be 'broke', but we're not poor. We're richer than rich.

And this is the difference between me and billions of other people in our world.

You see, wealth is not just a number in a bank account.

It's your family, your support, your sense of security and worth.

It's not just stocks, and IRA-s and 401Ks

It has to do with what privilege you have, and a lot to do with simple dumb chance.

You see, it's like this:
Because of my family, I'll never be hungry.
Because of my community of loved ones, I'll never go without shelter unless I so choose to.
Because of my education, I'll always be able to submit a competitive application
So material things can
 and could
and do
come easily to me.
These are solid things,
              that can easily build and bring success
                        and fill my bank account
                                                                    if need be.

But wealth is beyond the number in my bank account.
And so here's where I stand, 25 and trying to figure life out:

If money comes and goes so easily, and is in some ways a measure of wealth, but not definitive of it, how can I live in a way that takes opportunity and privilege that I inherently have, and turn it around to not only serve be but be of benefit to others as well?

How can I honor those who weren't born with as good of chance to climb the ladder as me, geographically, economically or culturally? How can I live in the state that I am, and to the best of my ability simultaneously minimize and maximize my impact? Manifest dignity?

I'm working now, through a mess of finance, hoping to better understand one day how I can:

Use the power of my economic class and opportunity, to mindfully care for people - not only me.

As of now, I believe it means
Limiting my consumption in ways that helps alleviate the suffering of the world at large: both ecologically and humanely. This means striving to choose economic and consumptive boundaries that limit waste, and work done by slaves.

Desire is a strange thing, if it weren't for it we wouldn't "need" or "want" many things. Life would be simple, it would be about food, shelter, clothing, community. These are all things that come relatively easily, if you can pass down wisdom generationally. But we've grown to fill our houses with things, like computers and TV's, entertainment and delicacies. These things are all nice and not inherently bad, but so much of it comes at such a great cost.

So what is the cost of really being rich? Of having a lot of money, and having privilege?