Filthy rich

13 May

Baby vs. bountiful box of diapers.

You’ve probably seen this meme that’s been making the rounds for a few years: “If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world. If you have money in the bank and your wallet, and some spare change, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.”

The numbers are specious and the tone is a bit glurgy (an excellent term I picked up from, but the attempted message rings true: Compared to many other people in the world, I am filthy rich. (And if you are similarly first-world middle-class, you are too.)

Recently Dave and I have been talking a lot about our finances, particularly as we work toward buying our first home. Our tastes are by no means extravagant, but it can be frustrating or discouraging when it looks like we won’t be able to afford, say, a decent place in a walkable, transit-accessible neighborhood. But every time I am tempted to bemoan where our finances fall short, I stop.

I always have plenty of food to eat. I have clothing and even a washer/dryer. I live in a nice, clean, furnished apartment in a safe neighborhood. I have access to heat, water, gas, Internet, and quality health care. I live in a country with a stable government and the rule of law.

I have stuff–and stuff to contain my stuff. I have Tupperware to hold my leftover food. I have shelves to organize my books, my food, my scrapbook supplies. I have a scarf organizer, for goodness’ sake.

I have everything I need to take care of my sweet baby boy. Most importantly, I have diapers. They arrive monthly in absurdly large boxes from Amazon. Just about every time I change Little L’s diaper, I feel grateful for the fact that I don’t have to worry about whether I’ll have enough to last through the day, or week, or month. (Read more here about how diapers pose problems for low-income families.)

Frankly, sometimes I can barely stand how comfortable my lifestyle is. I’m not complaining, of course–like Tevye said, money is the world’s curse, and if the Lord smites me with it, that’s fine. I’m just grasping for a healthy approach to enjoying what I’ve been given while also doing what I can to help others with less.

In my next post, I’ll share some of the things I’ve learned in trying to find a good approach


2 Responses to “Filthy rich”

  1. Karen H. May 14, 2014 at 3:46 am #

    Great title.

  2. Jon Van Woerkom May 14, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    A “scarf organizer?” For Heaven’s sake, how could you possibly need a scarf organizer? Oh, that’s right I have a “tie organizer.’ Dang, I am rich! Frankly, Holly, my riches flow from each of my five children, my son-in-law, my grandson, my parents, and extended family. The rest is just ‘stuff.’ I am so grateful that you see how richly blessed you are. Love, Dad

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