The Life of Bon: Wealth

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Do you want to know what the weirdest thing is that happens while I am at work?

My apartment makes a mess!  Isn't that rude?  I come home, exhausted and cranky and what does my apartment have to greet me?  Dirty dishes and hair on the sink and an unmade bed!  The nerve of the apartment to go dirty itself up while I'm slaving away with those high schoolers!

Then I remembered that I didn't do the dishes last night.  Instead I cuddled up with Hubs and fell asleep.  Then I remembered that I never wipe off the bathroom counter.  And then I remembered that I ran out the door this morning without making the bed.  Hmph.  Looks like this is MY FAULT.  Alright, apartment, you won this time.

So I set to work.  I cleaned out the fridge, scrubbed down those dishes, wiped the counter, folded the clothes, vacuumed the floor, made the bed.

While I was doing all this cleaning I got to thinking depressing thoughts.  Mine and Hubs' one year anniversary is coming up and I want to go a trip to celebrate.  Hawaii would be nice.  We can't even come close to affording it.  I entertained these evil little thoughts dancing around in my head while I scrubbed the base of the toilet.  I thought about how dirt poor I feel lately, how every month there is no room to breathe with the finances, how I want the freedom to buy clothes I don't need, to go on an unexpected trip, to eat out if I feel like it.  I pulled open a drawer and saw mine and Hubs' passports staring back at me, and I was overcome with.... with what?  Sadness?  Selfishness?  Depression that I can't afford to go on a huge international trip every year?

"I hate being poor,"  I thought to myself.  "I hate it.  I hate it.  I hate it."

I grabbed my jacket off the floor and went to put it in the coat closet.  Drowning in thoughts of self-pity, I opened the door to my coat closet.

This is what I saw.

And it hit me like a wave.  I was overwhelmed, this time not with self pity or selfishness or depression because I can't afford to go to Paris this summer, but with gratitude and embarrassment for acting so spoiled.  I looked at all the coats hanging there and I thought, "Good grief, Bonnie, anybody who has this many coats hanging in their closet is not poor."

And then I got to thinking.  "Poor" is all relative, isn't it?  The only reason I had the audacity to think for even one minute that I am "poor" is because our society is so driven by money and society forces me to compare myself to people like the Kardashians.  I remembered my 18 months spent in Argentina, and my visit to India, and the goals I made while there to never forget such poverty.  To always remember how blessed I have been.  To always remember that no matter what way I look at it, God has given me too much.

I pulled out my old mission journals and found this entry dated August 4, 2008:

"I guess I've become pretty accustomed to the way people live down here, but once in a while it hits me with full force once again and I realize how ridiculously blessed I am to be born with with I have.  The only difference in me and Neomi (an impoverished, illiterate 19 year old mother of two that we were teaching at the time) is that we were born in different countries to different monthers.  Why am I pursing an education at a universitiy, drive a car, live in a beautiful home, never expereinced real hunger, have family who loves me so much, and have been raised wit the teachings of Jesus Christ?  And why is Neomi illiterate, rides a broken bicycle, lives in a one room shack, is hungrey ever day, struggles to give her little children milk, has never known her father, and has never heard that Jesus died for us?  What in the world did I do to deserve so much and Neomi so little?  I used to think that any person could have what I have if they are willing to work for it.  But now I know that that is not true.  I am embarrassed to tell people that not only does my family own a car, we own several cars.  When I look at pictures of home I only see opportunity and wealth- things I have been given that the people here, for no fault of their own, will never see.  The inequality of the world just makes me so sad."

All the above pictures were taken in India.  Slums and poverty abound.

I remembered when I came home from my 18 month stay in Argy.  I remembered how overwhelmed I was by the wealth.  The country had hit an economic crisis during the time I was gone, but I saw no crisis.  I saw cars and carpets and microwaves.  Money.  I broke down at Burger King my second day back in the states because I could not handle the difference in wealth in the two countries.

I came to a stark realization this afternoon.  A realization that I have had time and time again.  I am not poor.  Not in any sense of the word.  I am wealthy beyond reason, beyond imagination.  Everytime I've learned this lesson in the past it was because I was visiting a third world country.  Today I didn't have to travel so far, only open the door of my coat closet.  And the lesson was just as powerful.

And next time I see the beautiful houses on pinterest, the new spring fashions, the clothes, the cameras, the cars that I can't afford, I'll try to be a little bit quicker about remembering. 

God has given me too much.


  1. This is so sweet, and a great reminder to all of us! Thanks for the post Bonnie!

  2. And to think, just minutes ago I was telling my friend how poor I am! Time for a reality check! You're blog is the cutest. I've recently become a teeny bit addicted. You're a great writer, and your classroom stories are just what this future teacher needs to read :)

  3. Nice post! Check my blog and follow me fi you want!

  4. WELL SAID, darling!! We are all guilty of these feelings; it's said that it takes someone else's hardship for us to put life in perspective, but... it does.

  5. Great post! What you said is so true. I also had the opportunity to visit a third world country several years ago and it was quite an eye opening experience for me. It gave me a greater appreciation for what I have been blessed with.

  6. LOVE this honest, soul baring post. *hugs*

    We all need to remember that we are SO not poor. But as long as we compare ourselves to those who are extravagant, we will feel poor.

    Or if we only measure it in money.

    Whenever I start to feel like that, I go through my flickr pictures. And I think to myself how fortunate I am. I may not be Kardashian rich, but I am wealthy in so many other ways.

    You are too. :)

  7. This is one of the reasons travelling is soooo important - I feel like everyone should experience the world just to know how lucky we are. The happiness that exists in such poverty as well as the sorrow. The depression and sadness that exists amongst so much wealth. All of it.

  8. Anonymous8:16 PM

    Thank you Bonnie... i needed to hear this more than you will ever know! My husband and I are going through bankruptcy right now and things have been really tough.. but not near as hard as what other people around the world go through. Thank you for reminding me just how blessed and spoiled we are!

  9. Love this post... I'm a tintsy bit jealous that you got to serve among the impoverished... I've been overseas lots, but haven't been exposed to poverty much. Obviously it really helps your perspective.

  10. Very well written post - hit me hard this morning and I needed that! I found your blog today (from Living in Yellow) and got sucked in reading. :) This post made me comment. Just had to tell you thank you for the perspective I needed, and for the reminder that I, too, am blessed and rich.

  11. Thank you for sharing that.. I don't know if I'll ever be able to look at pinterest the same way ever again! :D

  12. i love this. LOVE your perspective.