What is important?

“The point isn’t to make a fortune.  The point is to know what’s enough.  To be happy.” says one of the characters in Louise Penny’s The Brutal Telling.  I suspect we all recognize the wisdom in that statement, but how many of us are willing to really discern when our enough is enough and then act on it?

Several of our kids came home for Mother’s Day.  Family visits are bittersweet now that their father is gone. As usual, conversation ebbed and flowed, filled with memories and family stories.  Several members of our extended family have been sick or are currently facing their impending deaths.  None of us know how we will react when we are the ones who, hearing those words, “there is nothing more we can do,” but hopefully, we can be gracious, supportive, and accepting of each other.  One thing is clear; death has this way of reminding us of what is truly important.  “The point isn’t to make a fortune.  The point is to know what’s enough.  To be happy.”

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It’s so easy to believe it’s money and things that make us happy, yet how much do we really need to live a truly fulfilling life once our basic needs are met?  We’ve been seduced into believing that the true meaning of life is surrounding ourselves with power, possessions, and prestige.  Yet as we spent time with our loved ones this weekend we were reminded that, in the end, the only important things revolve around relationships. Being loved.  Being affirmed.  Being accepted.  Being forgiven.  Being grateful.   

Being with my sisters and husband as they faced their end times, visiting our foster daughter as sheets go of this life and prepare for the next, I am reminded of Thorton Wilder’s observation that we can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  I am becoming more and more aware that one of the most important things we can do is to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.   After all, the point isn’t becoming rich and powerful.  The point is to know what’s enough, what truly makes us happy. 

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