Monday, February 23, 2009

How Much is Enough?

A rich man was asked "How much money is enough?" to which he replied "Just a little more".

A wonderful story about life arrived by email this morning from the people at Free Range Studios. I had heard it before, but this is a great little 3 minute movie version of it.

The email preface to the movie is this :

Dear Free Range Fan,
Nearly everyone agrees that this economic crisis was set off by a simple human foible — greed. From the bankers to the borrowers, people just couldn't seem to get enough of what they thought would bring them The Good Life.

Sure, there's a time to point fingers, but there's also a time to look at ourselves and consider how we are a part of this "more, more, more" culture. So, Free Range has teamed up with social values business leader Mark Albion to create the parable of The Good Life, a story that asks what "enough" really means.

This isn't your usual urgent call to action; instead, it's a chance to take a moment to reflect on your own life and the work you do. We hope this three-minute story of The Good Life adds some helpful perspective to your life.

Click this link to view the movie "The Good Life"

I wish I could say that I have already taken this insight and wisdom to heart, and am living life a bit more like that fisherman. But instead, my first thought was "Who should I email this to?" with the intention of then continuing with my work. As I started to compose the email, it occurred to me that I might benefit from taking the story to heart also.

When I think about it, my husband and I have all that we already need: good health, a wonderful family, a beautiful home (and garden!), a good neighbourhood, friends, church community, promising careers. But in the past few years, our enjoyment of these has been threatened by the company we founded and now find ourselves dedicated to. I try not to complain, since it's all good news. Our company has encountered much success in all ways, and is growing at a furious pace to keep up with the market demand. But that has meant a lot of long hours for us. Most nights working past midnight, after the kids go to bed. On weekends, we spend time together as a family, and then go back to work most nights also.

My only hope seems to be a "liquidity event". The vague hope that somehow someone will one day buy us out, and let us return to some sort of "normal" life again. For me, to spend more time in the garden, and to enjoy being with the kids, working on homework, or piano practice, or going to activities, or just "playing" and spending time. Not looking at my watch while talking to them, or being repeatedly called away by the phone. To finally make time for the wonderful friends I have been neglecting so long. Even to visit with our extended family.

I work from home to allow me to care for the kids before and after school, but the result of this is that I am never really "off" work, and have my work always close at hand, to mix into my home life any time I want to (and being a workaholic, it happens very often). As my daughter complains, any time I have a discussion with my husband, the first thing we seem to talk about (and the topic of the majority of our conversations) is work.

It is interesting that the topic of Sunday's sermon was "Finances and Faith" (click the eyeball link to watch the video), and one of the key verses for me was I Timothy 6:6 "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment". Recent events in our family have made it painfully clear how fleeting life is, and how we cannot take it for granted.

So will I heed the message that I keep receiving in so many forms? Not to sit back and live life selfishly (since that is not the message, either), but to stop to "smell the roses" and enjoy the people in my life, while I have time on this earth, with them? And to enjoy some of the things that give my life meaning.

For a start, I took advantage of the wonderful weather (a respite in between one day of rain, and the threat of more) to spend 1 hour at lunchtime, cleaning up more of my front garden. Now I will get off the computer (!!), and try to really spend some quality time with the kids before returning to work again this afternoon/evening. I hope to watch the video again tonight, as I plan out the remainder of my week.

If this movie has inspired you to consider how you are living your life, please share your thoughts with me, too. I know I will benefit from more reminders. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I am just a stranger visiting your weblog. I was looking for a gardening blog from Vancouver where I live. I like the video that you recommended. I learned this lesson early on in life for various reasons: 1) I met that fisherman; 2) my dad was about to retire and never got to enjoy it fully because he became terminally ill; 3) to work so hard just seems to defeat my purpose in life (i.e., spiritually enjoying my surroundings).
Now I am nearing 40. I am in good health; I have a wonderful partner and a small child; I am personally financially broke, but I have everything I need including a roof over my head, warmth, water, good food, a garden. I don't want for more and I feel very privileged already for having these basic things in life. I do go out to Van Dusen all the time with my baby son to en-joy and to let him touch and feel the plants and rocks. He so enjoys it. He loves the little water drops that form on the tips of coniferous needles after a rain. He loves to touch Douglas Fir tree bark and I just think that that is special. I wish you well and I hope that you can enjoy the spring and summer. They are lovely times of year.

Garden Lily said...

Thank you so much for dropping by, and for leaving a comment. You may be a "stranger" at this point, or just a neighbour I haven't met yet. All the best to your family also for this spring & summer (when they finally come!).

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