Treasure Chest

13 May

Our society seems obsessed with celebrity. There are dozens of reality shows featuring celebrities supposedly filmed in their regular lives, which as it turns out, generally aren’t regular at all. Every tabloid, every magazine, every periodical is covered with their faces, and stories about their escapades. They are often dysfunctional people, and stories of their troubles are endless. The extravagant excesses of their lifestyles are nearly unbelievable.

As we read about these people, and see them on television, the message seems to be that this is what we should be aiming for. We should seek riches, buy only the finest things, and serve ourselves. The ads we see showing these ideals always feature happy, smiling people. We just have to be rich, buy new cars, bigger homes, and send our children to only the finest private schools. Then we’ll be happy.

But happiness has never had anything to do with money or riches. It’s true, money can buy anything but poverty, but it’s also true that rich or poor, we are who we are. If we are happy and content, if we are thankful when we have little, we will probably be happy, content, and thankful if we get more. And so it follows that if we are miserable complainers who constantly find fault when we have little, we will probably be miserable complainers who constantly find fault when we have more. The monetary things we own do not change who we are inside. They can’t. What happens outside of us may make us more comfortable in the immediate future, but eventually our true selves emerge.

The secret to life isn’t getting more treasure, and seeking after riches. The secret to life is learning to live happily, and gratefully, no matter what circumstance we’re in. Having few possessions, and little money doesn’t mean we must be miserable. If we can be grateful for what we have, no matter how little or how much, we will be happy. A humble meal shared with those we love can be more fun than a meal at a four star restaurant. Time in the park throwing a Frisbee with friends can be as enjoyable as a formal gala.

Racing to get the most, get the best, and get to it first is exhausting, and will not bring joy. If we are thankful for what we have, and enjoy every moment of every day, exactly where we are, we will find happiness. Some years will be lean, some years will be full, it’s the nature of life. But no matter where we are, there is much for which to be grateful.

Today when you walk through the store and see all the splashy pictures of the rich and famous, try to remember that your life is valuable just as it is. It’s good, and it’s worthwhile. It’s the most important thing you have. Be grateful for it. It’s worth more than anything that can be bought. In fact, it’s priceless.

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