Gratitude Sunday: Wealthy Or Poor?

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Old woman walks, head
uncovered, soaking up sweet
spring rain caresses.

Sunday Musings
What do you consider abundance? How much do you appreciate abundance? How much do you need to feel abundant?

I am one of the “wealthy poor”. What do I have that makes me wealthy?

I have an abundance of stuff. I have a home with a mortgage and the privilege of paying property tax. It’s pretty scary that a poor person should live in a house and not on the street somewhere. My house needs a new roof, gutters, and paint inside and out, not in my budget. I have a working car, a 1999 Toyota Tacoma that is starting to show signs of age: the plastic bits are breaking, the paint is flaking, and every month or two it makes a new mysterious noise. I have working appliances: my microwave is vintage and hums along with the fluorescent lights; my freezer is 30 years old and still running with a high pitched fever. My refrigerator (which leaks water), stove (three burners of the four work, and a questionable thermostat in the oven), dishwasher, washing machine, and clothes dryer are more than ten years old and if I hold my mouth just right continue to keep plugging away. I am able to beg for enough help to keep my heat on so I can be warm in the winter and wash my dishes with hot water year round so I don’t get sick.

I am grateful for the convenience of not having to chop wood to make a fire to heat the water to beat the clothes clean with soap I’ve made myself. I am grateful for the convenience of not having to go someplace else and spend more of my money to use somebody else’s equipment at an inflated price to keep my clothing clean. I am grateful the car still runs. I am grateful the roof does not leak.

I have electronic equipment. My laptop, used for all my composition and editing work, is more than 4 years old. For Christmas I replaced the 15 year old printer that died and, yay me, paid $30.00 for a $200.00 printer/scanner/copier which was two more capabilities than I had before. Thank goodness for holiday mark-downs, discount coupons, and senior discount days.

I upgraded my phone last year (nope, not an iPhone, but a pay-as-you-go-utilitarian model), probably a waste of the 50 dollars I spent when it went on sale half-price, as I never take pictures with it or use it for social media, but I am grateful for the mobility and emergency access it gives me, like when the car breaks down I can call for roadside service, which I pay extra for in my car insurance. I consider the phone and the roadside service addition to my (mandatory) car insurance to be a good use of my money as a 63 year old woman does not need to be walking in any kind of weather to find a pay phone when her car dies, especially since pay phones are few and far between these days, fallout from the convenience of cell phones. Have you ever asked a place of business if you can use their phone to call for help in this day and age when everybody is supposed to be able to afford a cell phone? Eye rolls and questions do not compare to the disgusted looks of “you must be really poor if you don’t have a phone”.

My entertainment device (TV) is 5 years old as well. Still works like a champ, so why replace it? I also insist on maintaining my land-line phone and I use a 40 year old slimline style phone inherited when my father-in-law died. What? You have a TV and two phones? You can’t be poor!

No, really, I’m not poor. I do not live in grinding, soul-killing poverty scraping weeds and bugs from the soil to eat. I own a few conveniences I can’t afford to replace if they break. I don’t have housing security. I don’t have enough income to pay my bills and I can’t get work. So far I don’t qualify for disability and I’m a few years away from Social Security retirement. Yet I afford a few luxuries in my life, like hot running water at the turn of a tap, relatively clean water to drink (albeit laced with fluoride and chlorine), a private bathroom, and my own bed.

I also have an abundance of heart. I say heart because it’s what I feel love with, not the muscle necessarily, but this gut feeling in the middle of me. I don’t know if other people love me, but my love/heart/concern for other people overwhelms me at times. I don’t need to be loved to feel love for others.

I’m not poor, but I intensely feel a poverty of spirit. For myself, for my country, and for my planet.

Let me ask you.

Are you OK with Russia, or any other country, interfering with the American political process?

Are you OK with federal administrators profiting from using your hard earned tax dollars?

Are you OK with politicians making a profit from their elected positions? Or with a politician buying their position?

Are you OK with misogyny and racism?

Are you OK with treating people who are different than you differently because they are different than you?

Are you OK with profiting at other people’s expense?

Are you OK with rolling back protections for worker’s safety previously in place? Or soiling our earth with oil spills in our water for the profit of a few when there are alternative energy sources that will profit many with so much less damage to our earth?

Are you OK with air pollution and water pollution in the name of profit for a few, after years of working to improve the quality of our air and water?

Are you OK with elders and children and the differently-abled going hungry or without health care in the wealthiest nation on the planet?

Are you OK with men not finding work because the jobs they did don’t exist anymore (and shouldn’t exist anymore – that’s called progress), and there is no education to help them move forward with the times?

Are you OK with a rotting infrastructure and “intelligent” people who can’t figure out how to fix it, when men go without work to support their families?

Are you OK with the companies that don’t even live in America anymore because their owners (some of whom are now our federal administrators) can make more money for their own pockets paying poverty wages to workers in other countries?

Are you OK with letting people who may have less than you struggle with health and illness because their health does not enable them to earn enough to pay the middle man (insurance companies) before they get anywhere near a doctor?

Are you OK with taking away the right to a public elementary education and making college so unaffordable we have the least educated country on the planet?

Are you OK with putting the wealth of the nation in the hands of greedy people who make national policy for their own profit and who care nothing about the rest of us?

Are you OK with financial institutions who are supposed to be working in your interest making profit for themselves while using your money without profit to you?

Are you OK with banks falsely presenting themselves (and it’s all legal) and selling products such as home mortgages to people who do not understand what they are buying, because they so desperately want into the American Dream of owning their own home, only to lose it a few years down the line when the bank takes it back to do the same thing to the next sucker, sorry, family who wants the American Dream, forcing each family into financial crisis in the name of profit for the bank?

Are you OK with treating people differently because they are a different color, or a different religion, or a different ability, or have materially less than you?

If you are OK with these things you are wealthier than me. It’s OK to have more wealth than me, but don’t blame me because I have earned less. You have enough. In America, recent studies showed about $70,000.00 a year is enough to live comfortably, to experience housing security, not have to worry about your expenses, food, or tax obligation, and afford a vacation now and then. The median income in America is less than $50,000.00 a year, so if you have enough you are better off than more than half the American population. You experience a degree of security I and many others will never know (don’t give me the choice argument; we can control our choices, we cannot always control the consequences). You are able to live in this life without one iota of concern about your fellow man, or about the improvement of the least of us. You are able to not care about anyone other than you and yours, and the rest of us, regardless of our circumstances, can take a flying leap.

I do not covet your blindness. I am grateful my eyes are wide open. I am not a snowflake, and don’t label me a liberal, or a bleeding heart. I can see what is morally and ethically right and just. I see beyond myself and I am not complacent.

What triggered this rant? A female acquaintance recently posted on social media how tired she was of hearing all the bad things our administration is doing, and for the media and others to shut up and let them govern (even though they have had no governing experience and don’t seem to understand how government works). I didn’t rebut her on social media; I doubt she’d understand what I am saying in the few words social media permits. She’s entitled to her opinion; I am too, and I can’t shut up. I cannot be complacent when people in power set out to hurt others who have less than them or to damage the planet we have worked so many years to care for, and when intelligent people complacently condone oppression and exploitation. And the ugly part about me? From what she said, I cannot help but believe she is OK with all of the above and is content to have the current administration destroy what many of us have worked for over the last 50 years, which destroys my trust in her.

Brace yourselves; you do not live in a vacuum. We must share this planet, not just you and your spouse, your children, grandchildren, and immediate family and circle of friends. Your family is wide and diverse and it contains every human being and living thing on this planet. And if you claim some kind of religion or philosophy as a justification for caring only about yours and not about mine or theirs, I’m pretty sure your God is rolling his eyes right about now. Dogma doesn’t cut it in my book.

I grant I am far, far away from perfect. I am judgmental (look at the paragraph above and the conclusions I draw about this acquaintance from her words), I whine, I complain. My voice is caustic, obnoxiously strident, and abrasive. I can only hope my voice is sufficiently irritating that you think. That you do your own research, that your research goes beyond your own small circle, that you use the brain God gave you to think for yourself to define morals and ethics, and not parrot words or concepts because they’ve been told to you by people you think hold more power or authority than you.

Power and money mean nothing but power and money. A wealth of spirit means everything. What abundance do you have? Are you wealthy or poor or both?

Color Watchcolorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Pink candy striped hyacinth. Not my favorite color, but you have to give vermillion azaleas points for audacity. Love the depth of pink throat on this pink rhododendron. A bright yellow tulip. Deep purple lilacs just coming on. A whole huge tree full of sunset pink dogwood. I find columbine to be a particularly fine flower, here’s one in tones of pink.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016, rated PG – 13), the new one with Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon, of Saturday Night Live fame, who is wickedly funny. No comparisons; take the old one for what it was and still is (funny and fun; an all time classic) and this one for what it is (funny and fun; just a matter of time before it is an all time classic). * Season 2 of Game of Thrones (2012, TV-MA) ruthless power struggles.

Currently ReadingAbandon Me (2017, memoir) by Melissa Febos, an erotic sensual book about being left behind, though not quite that simplistic. * Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science (2015, scientific morality and ethics) by Alice Dreger. Actually more about the politics of scientific research and publication versus championing help for people in need of advocacy. Significant in its own way.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Flocks of geese squawking overhead on their journey wherever.
  • Sun, rain, lightning, thunder, hail, all on the same day.
  • The day was dark and stormy day all day, but at the end of the day a round rosy sunset bloomed in the western sky underneath the black storm clouds.
  • Being done with those pesky taxes.
  • Looking forward to the opening of my community’s farmers market next month.
  • Arriving home safely from my shopping trip after being behind two crashes.
  • After a long cold winter, one glorious almost 70 degree day to bask in the sun and opening doors for fresh air.
  • Watching my young adult son mature just a little bit more. I know how hard it is; I’m still doing it myself.
  • Taking a few minutes to watch a pair of hawks circling high above the elementary school next to my local lending library.
  • My shopping day was so clear on my eastward driving route I could see Mt Hood from this far west corner of the Willamette Valley.
  • Getting my Christmas tablecloth off the table and a spring cloth on. I’m off-kilter; usually by now, I’ve been through two or three changes from the first of the year.
  • The neighbor’s apple tree pink blossoming within view of my kitchen window. Sweet fragrance when the breeze is just right.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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4 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Wealthy Or Poor?

  1. Tee says:

    Things I’m grateful for this week:
    *Employment
    *Health and dental insurance – I need a root canal/crown and between dental insurance and a bit of money in my FSA, it will pay for at least half. I’ll have to figure out the other half.
    *Hubby and I are still relatively healthy. I’m about 10 years younger than you, but old enough to experience how you physically change past age 50.
    *Springtime weather – finally. Planning and planting the garden. We’re growing flowers too!
    *My hubby :o)
    *Water (like you)

    Like

    • sassy kas says:

      Thank you! Yes, I felt the changes start at 50. I’d love for women of all ages to have wider conversations on the challenges of aging. Knowing what to expect helps, even if your experience varies. Best Rx: exercise, eat well, sleep. Blessings!

      Like

  2. piratesorka says:

    I need to go to the beach soon and I plan to kidnap you when I do. The Month of May is calling my name. You are warned.

    Like

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