Two years ago, shortly after moving into my current home, I was having drinks in my neighbor’s backyard getting to know everyone else in the neighborhood.
We were all exchanging jokes and stories – as everyone does while getting used to a new environment – learning about each other’s characters and our various idiosyncrasies. As I shared a story, I was approached by the gruff, grey-haired, older man who lives a few houses down. He removed his belt, wrapped the leather around his hand and presented the buckle to me. It was a silver relief of eagles surrounding a slot for a Zippo-style lighter.
“You like this?” He asked.
“Shit, yeah,” I replied.
“Here,” he wrapped the leather around the buckle and handed it to me.
“You can have it”.
My 68-year-old neighbour, Gerry, is a stalwart and stoic Scottish man renowned for his off the cuff remarks and his clear and concise evaluations of others. He’s rough around the edges, rides a Harley-Davidson, and takes regular vacations to remote campsites in his RV with his wife Gene. Gerry is an everyman, as far as the literary definition is concerned. Yet he is also incredibly unique and vibrant in his own right. His presence in our enclave-style backyard has always been strong and welcomed. His unique attitude and personality around which the neighbourhood would consistently rally for barbecues and parties. Two months ago, Gerry had a stroke.
The cycle of life. The inevitability of our birth and death. Our vulnerability to disaster or disease. These events, to the initiated, are synchronous with each other, once chosen to witness in tandem.
Witnessing the interdependence of my family on one another as we grasp to understand Gerry’s situation, is profoundly moving and articulates, on seemingly unseen levels, how much we all need each other. It’s truly undeniable once experienced, but usually not a topic of casual conversation.
Gerry has been fighting this thing tooth and nail, determined to have the full use of his left arm and leg as soon as humanly possible (the latter is returning at a painfully slow rate and he is currently confined to a wheel chair). He might harass a few nurses in the meanwhile, but I’m sure they won’t complain.
See, Gerry has a massive bankroll. A massive spiritual bankroll, that is. With an overwhelmingly positive balance – apparent in light of his recent misfortune – the response of his family, friends, and neighbors has been nothing short of beautiful. Not discounting his personal capacities, all of these people are his strength and resolve. His is an example of character over reputation, of the beauty of life’s abundance being available to those who seek its’ truths.
As Carl Jung said, “He who looks outside, dreams. He who looks inside, awakens”.
I suppose, with these words, I am mining for an ore of balance. An ore that, once refined to a precious metal, I believe can help to discern a unique and personal definition of abundance (I would use the term ‘wealth’, but that word is antiquated in my humble opinion).
You see, Gerry is not financially “well-to-do” but makes a good living and provides for his family. As far as I can see, they don’t really want for anything. Gerry and I have a lot in common. He is rich in ways I hope to be and impoverished in ways neither of us could give a shit about. In many ways, I am in the same boat as Gerry; my sons and stepdaughter don’t go without and occasionally receive a little something extra to remind them that they are loved and special. These are spiritually fulfilling examples of life’s potential abundance.
Philosophical rambling aside, I’m trying to say something simple. Open a spiritual account. Make deposits. Make good deposits for good reason. Make good deposits for good reason with a good attitude. Trust me, the interest rates will be through the roof.