Sunday, September 22, 2019

Not the Possession but its Use

Christianity talks a lot about voluntary poverty and detachment. This is the other side of attachment to God. In the recent Catholic News Weekly, a counselor of a psychology center gives some answers to the problems that many have with possession and our relationship to them in the spiritual life.

  She introduces the readers to the YAWNS: Young and Wealthy but Normal, a movement that was introduced to the public in the British press in the 2000s. It refers to people with great wealth but who do not live extravagantly but a frugal life and donate to charity and are socially responsible. They are in their 30s and 40s, made the money with their own efforts but pursue ordinary life.

 On the other hand, you have also acronym YOLO (You Only Live Once), which means making the most of the one life that we have. The slang word was made famous by the Canadian singer Drake in the 2011 song 'The Motto'. This has spread all over the world. Those mainly in their 20s and 30s value money to increase the quality of life. No one should hesitate to spend money on traveling, hobbies, expensive eating, shopping, etc., present happiness is what is important and without sacrificing for the future or for others.

 Whether you belong to the YAWNS or YOLO group the writer feels that young people are more concerned about spending money in the here and now. Even the YOLO family are not spending money foolishly. We no longer have images of those who become rich overnight. The young have found a way to satisfy their desires with what they will receive from their parents. Since most will find it difficult to be rich in reality they may have come to an understanding of what the future will hold for most of them. The job market looks bleak and this will have a great deal to do with the way they look at the future.

 She relates the Grimm tale 'Happy Hans'. The hero Hans has worked for seven years and receives payment for his work with a lump of gold. He begins his journey back to his mother and puts the gold in a handkerchief and becomes tired. He sees a man riding a horse and decides to exchange his gold for the horse. Happy with the exchange he gets on the horse and rides off. He falls off the horse and exchanges it for a cow, but the cow does not produce what he thought and meets a butcher who gives him a pig in exchange, and this time exchanges the pig for a goose and later the goose is exchanged for a grindstone. He is now short of money for food and thirsty he stops to drink from the river and the grindstone falls into the water and is lost. He is happy to be rid of the heavy grindstone and free of all trouble and returns to his mother telling of his great fortune. Moral of the story—happiness comes from the mind, not the possession.

Of course, we know how unreal this story is. But if Hans hadn't changed the lump of gold for a horse and what followed he might have ended up losing some really precious things and not being happy. The last vestment we wear after death has no pockets.

If we know the true value of money, it's time to think about how valuable it will be in life, rather than focusing on its ownership, of the material itself. Regardless of how much you earn, isn't it how we spend it that makes it truly mine?

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