Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas? Give everyone you know on your gift list what they asked for? Did the IPad’s, jewelry, and fresh pieces of clothing pulled from neatly-wrapped boxes flow steadily around the ole’ Christmas tree? Good. Now, how many of those “things” have truly made you happier, more fulfilled, even caused you to maintain a better sense of hope and excitement for the future past the first minutes after receiving them? Did their newness quickly wear off, or are you still reveling in their presence now that the New Year has come and gone?
Material possessions can be great to have. They give us temporary fixes to our everyday emotional and physical needs and desires. They can make us feel on top of the world, powerful, important, confident, secure, and valuable. They have the unique ability of giving us that certain high like nothing else. But having that luxury yacht or home by the sea can provide those “high” feelings for only so long until we find ourselves looking for that next fix of bought adrenaline.
Years ago, I dated a lovely lady for a few months who was extremely giving and kind to everyone around her. She adopted, and housed animals in need, worked in the medical field helping to diagnose those with disease and illness, and gave herself to charitable causes. She also shared my love of anything you could ride, or hop inside and drive fast. For a few weeks, she’d been working on the road while I’d do my best to travel and visit. I guess, feeling the need to return the favor, on Valentines Day, she came over particularly early before we were going out for the evening. We were talking and sipping champagne when much to my surprise, while looking out the window, I saw the most beautiful sight slithering around the corner: a bright red Ferrari Spider eventually rolling to a stop outside my doorway. Long story short, she had rented it for 24 hours for us to drive and enjoy. And as you can imagine, I was dumbfounded and couldn’t believe my eyes because being able to drive, much less own one of these magnificent machines has always been an item inside my bucket list.
That night and the following day, we drove it around and had a great time. The feeling of driving that sexy car far exceeded my expectations. It performed just like I knew it would, giving credit to the years of racing heritage behind its design and hand-crafted engineering. The next day we took it back and turned it in. For a while, I enjoyed the sweat memories and appreciated the wonderful gesture she gave me. It was, by far, one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. However, it taught me that certain material possessions, and I mean even the ones we’ve always dreamed of owning, can provide us excitement only for a short while. And while I wouldn’t mind having another go behind the wheel of that beautiful red machine, I know now that the thrill and fun of doing that would only last so long; giving credit to the idea that the newness of material possessions always wears off.
Every time I see a Ferrari driving by, I think of that night. But, when I ask myself if I’d actually buy one if I had the money, the answer is always questionable. Fancy cars, homes, jewelry, whatever else you may crave may be fun for a while, but ask yourself sometime, what else could you do with money that would be more satisfying? What would provide a much greater sense of happiness and joy making you emotionally fulfilled?
I was watching a news program recently while pastor, Rick Warren was being interviewed. For those who are unfamiliar with him, Mr. Warren is the pastor of Saddleback Church in California as well as the author of several Christian books including the mega-bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life which has sold over 30 million copies. The entire interview surrounded his charitable giving, because in 2005, he gave back 25 years of his salary to his church as well dispensing 90% of all other income to charity. It was a wonderful testament of how giving instead of spending can become overwhelmingly satisfying, and you could see the happiness on his face while discussing his actions.
Later this year my next novel will be published which addresses this very issue. It’s a story of one who goes from being dirt poor to rich beyond his dreams virtually overnight. But, after the newness and excitement wear off, and through the help of some unexpected, and surprising sources, he discovers the thrilling sense of doing better things with his money besides buying the fancy homes and cars which only lead him to disappointment. He literally becomes a new person down inside while allowing others to feel the same luck he’s been blessed with. It’s going to be a rich, emotional roller coaster ride and I look forward to sharing it with you.
Not many can afford to be a, Rick Warren. But, using our money for other things instead of rushing to the mall for that quick fix could provide for some life-changing happiness.
Thanks for listening…