1.04.2014

30 Days of $Zero: Day 4

I don't write about work often... actually ever.  I like to keep work at work, period.  However, I had an experience this week that really resonated with me and gave me a whole new perspective on this 30 Days of Zero challenge.  *I have to keep the details as vague as possible.*

So I was caring for a patient who is, in my opinion, a true American hero.  I listened intently to their stories and was just amazed at how much they had given.  This person has made contributions to our country that most cannot imagine. 

Overnight, my fellow nurses asked how my spending diet was going and I, of course, whined about Starbucks and my urge to browse Zulily.  True first world problems, right?

In the morning, I went in to help get this patient ready for the day.  They are from a much more simple generation, and I know that.  But I was still taken aback when I saw their attire for the day.  It was well-loved, and by well-loved I mean stained, tattered and hanging together by a thread in many places.  It seemed as if it was the only outfit they had worn for the past 30 or so years.  On further inspection of their closet, it was apparent that this was the only outfit they owned, and likely the only one they had owned/worn for the past 30 or so years.

This person thanked me profusely for everything small task that I helped them with and praised God from the moment they awoke for all of the blessings they have been given. 

I left work marveling over the experience.  This person is thankful to be alive.  Thankful to have food to eat and clothes to wear, while I lament about not buying Starbucks or loads of junk that I don't need.  If any of us should be singing praises, it should be me.  And if any of us should be wanting more, it should be them.  How backwards.  How strange.  

How eye-opening.

I stood in my closet for a while when I got home.  Embarrassed.  I have clothes upon clothes upon clothes.  Shoes and scarves and purses and... stuff everywhere.  And yet, I want more... more... more.  Why?

Well, I don't know why.  I probably never will understand what makes some of us never feel satisfied, even when our bounty is bursting at the seams.  What I do know is that my non-material blessings are immeasurable.  My amazing family, my loving husband, the fact that I was able to help create a life and bring her into the world, my daughter's infectious laugh, my puppy's never-ending cuddles, my brother who is always there for me, my parents who have supported me every step of this crazy life journey, my brother-in-law and my in-laws who are generous beyond measure, my house that we have made a home, my job that truly is fulfilling (even on the crazy days), my health (especially when I care for the sick and injured daily), my faith (now a little stronger).  I could go on for days.  I can't put a price tag on these things (less the house, of course), yet they are the biggest riches I have.  I need to focus more on these, the wealth I possess that I didn't find on the Target clearance rack or on any shopping website.

So today, I feel a little more focused, a little less selfish and a lot more appreciative of what I do have.  I can't say I don't miss Starbucks (because nothing makes self-reflection tastier than a nice hot Chai Tea Latte with one pump of pumpkin).... but things are looking pretty good.