People are the Meaning of Life, Part 6

“Americans spend an estimated 20 billion dollars annually on ice cream.  An amount that could feed 83 million hungry children for a year.” -State of the World 2004 Worldwatch Institute

“…I bet my whole checking account because it all amounts to nothing in the end.” -Jason Mraz, “Curbside Prophet”

Suddenly, the thought of being filthy rich is less intriguing than ever. I’m not talking about turning down the chance to make $100,000 a year. I mean stinkin’ rich. Multi-millionaire. Completely set for life. So rich that it would be expected of me to drive a new Jaguar and live in a mansion with a kidney-shaped swimming pool and speak with a Connecticut dialect and be on MTV Cribs. Set for life.

I came to the realization that I already have everything I need and want.

Aside from paying bills and getting out of debt and buying food, the only money I really spend is on non-fiction books off the discount rack at Borders. So that means the only thing I can’t get enough of that money can actually buy is knowledge. I can gain knowledge through my own life experiences. The other way is to buy it through books written by people who save me the time of living out the experiences they’ve already learned from.

So once I get out of debt, which I eventually will since my wife are strict followers of Dave Ramsey, what would I continually spend a large income on if I ever had it?

More expensive, impressive cars? A huge house, with its higher insurance rates and utilities and more expensive overhead and all the nice furniture and fixin’s to make it look nice?

It all goes back to Forrest Gump: “Now, Momma said there’s only so much fortune a man really needs… and the rest is just for showing off.”

So I imagine having the house paid off, being debt free, happy in a small but nice house, driving decent cars. What do I need a lot money for?

For me, it would be to travel the world. I’ve only been to 4 other countries in this world (not counting a layover in Japan or driving to the Canada side of Niagara Falls). There is so much beautiful landscape to see and so many interesting people to meet and all that weird foreign culture to be exposed to. I could never get enough of that, yet with money I could try.

But.

Instead of sending myself across the globe, treating it and its people as my own real-life Epcot Center, what if I helped them with my time and money ?

Because after a few awesome trips to Norway and Sweden and Switzerland, it’s gonna hit me: This is fun, but ultimately it’s all about me. And I’m not that big of a deal.

And I think that’s why so many big movie stars and rock stars are often so much more aware of the needs of Third Word Countries. They “get” this high concept more than we do sometimes. Because they are set for life, unlike us. They have the time and the money to see the rest of the world. And before too long, they see a need to help the millions of people currently living in slavery and poverty.

It’s inevitable there will always be poor people and therefore there will always be a need to give our time and money: “For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'” -Deuteronomy 15:11

So if I was so rich I could just retire now, and still have plenty of cash to blow, where would my money go? How would I spend with my time?

Other people. With them and for them. That’s where all the extra would go.

How would it be fair that I had too much while most of the world had way too little? How would I not be a hypocrite to live a life that acknowledges that true religion is caring for the orphans and widows yet I lived a lavish lifestyle? I just don’t see how having that much money could ever make me happy.

To have too much of anything ultimately means that someone out there isn’t getting enough.

http://www.worldvision.org/

https://www.hopeforhaitinow.org/Default.asp

Strip away food, clothes, shelter, and faith. It’s safe to say that anyone reading this on their computer has all those things. What’s left that actually matters to us?

People.

Family and friends.

And complete strangers that need the extra money we have to get a much smaller version of those things we already have.

Life really is that simple.

So if by writing this I jinx my situation and become filthy stinkin’ rich so fate can test if I really mean what I say, I’m not afraid. Because speaking of learning from other people’s life experiences, it’s often those same movie stars and rock stars that “get it” when it comes to poverty in the rest of the world that are also the same ones that prove that having too much doesn’t make them happy.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” -James 1:27

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” -Edmund Burke

People are the Meaning of Life- Table of Contents

Part 1 http://wp.me/pxqBU-2h

Part 2 http://wp.me/sxqBU-289

Part 3 http://wp.me/pxqBU-7M

Part 4 http://wp.me/pxqBU-8r

Part 5 http://wp.me/pxqBU-j2

Part 6 http://wp.me/pxqBU-tm


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Manspeak, Volume -1: Boyspeak

During the summer of 2000 I was a camp counselor in Florida. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I had to make my campers think that I did. Each week I teamed up with a different co-counselor and ruled over a new cabin full of 16 boys, ready for action and trouble. Every group of boys had a natural leader, a natural rebel, followers of both, and occasionally, what I call the Boy Wonder.

He was the most misunderstood. He had the hardest time fitting in with the rest. He was in his own world. And he really didn’t mind. Because I am convinced he didn’t realize any of this.

Of course most boys encounter these traits at some point in their boyhood; some just take longer to grow out of it, if ever.

It was camp policy that every counselor had at least one of his campers with him at all times (like Sonic the Hedgehog and his rings). The Boy Wonder of the group usually ended up being the one I spent the most time with. There was something in it for both of us: I would be his faithful friend and he would be my camper-at-all-times.

The most memorable Boy Wonder was an 8 year-old named Daniel, complete with a pasty white complexion and perfectly straight bangs running across his forehead. Everyone learned his name on the second day of camp, when he threw up his corndog and tater tots inside the cabin after lunch. As the other counselor cleaned up the mess, I watched all the boys outside.

The easier job would to have been to clean up the puke. Because outside the cabin as I tried to stabilize the situation, Daniel chased all the other boys. They were afraid to get near him because of the vomit all over his clothes and face.

But ultimately, Daniel wanted to be the comedian of the group. And in a way he was: There were times he made the other boys laugh, but they were always laughing at him, not with him. His jokes were too familiar and too predictable (knock-knock’s and chickens crossing the street). It’s like he began realizing that by the end of the week, so he decided to start making up his own jokes:

Q: “What did the anteater say to the ant?”
A: “May I eat you or may I lick you?”

I remember what happened as soon as that joke was delivered. A few seconds of silence passed as this non-logical riddle fell flat. Then, it hit us all at once. The entire cabin roared up in a session of uncontrollable laughter. The joke made no sense: Why would a talking anteater politely ask his victim if he would prefer to be eaten (and die) or licked (and survive)? And why would being licked even be an option anyway? And that’s why it was inevitably hilarious.

Somewhere out in central Florida today is a high school senior named Daniel. Maybe his jokes got better. Maybe he started fitting in with the other boys. But if I know Daniel, he still hasn’t grown out of his Boy Wonder phase.

He would be far from the first. Classically, I’m referring to Gary Busey. But more recently, any man featured on a “celebrity” reality show on VH1.  And even it weren’t for the recent MTV Video Music Awards incident, I would still say it.

Kayne West.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

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