I was chatting with a friend over pizza and wine tonight. As our educational conversations intersected with our past, I was reminded of what my father has always told me, “We come into this world with nothing and we leave this world with nothing.” This saying always makes me pause to think about our purpose. It is not about the material things we have. It is not about the money. It’s about the life we lead, and the people we love. A little about me (being totally vulnerable right now):
My first few years of life I lived in a trailer park. My favorite memory was standing outside and eating processed Kraft American cheese on the small little step right outside our door. We then moved to a much larger house near the country. It was beautiful. My memories are rich with celebrations and sorrows. Then one day, no house. No dad. We were homeless. Like that, life as I knew it was changed. We lived in our car a few days, slept in a couple motels and then landed at my aunt and uncles house where we stayed for awhile. I had two memorable moments from that time in my life that I don’t want to share, yet they were painful. It was hard to see the hurt that my mom experienced. It was hard to act like all was okay when it wasn’t.
Then, my dad was back in the picture. He “put us up” in a motel. We lived there for a while before moving into the apartment my mom currently lives in. We “lost” our car when I was in 5th grade (well it was taken away) and we walked everywhere. I don’t think I appreciated it then as I do now, but my mom wanted things to seem normal. She wanted us to appear as life was good but it was broken. You know the kind of broken you don’t talk about.
I made it through high school and then off to college. I worked my way through college – 4 nights a week and almost every Saturday. I was fortunate to have a job I loved – gymnastics coach. Our summer before our senior year my friends and I got an apartment. I could only afford that and my car payments. That summer we ate a lot of Ramen noodles and peanut butter sandwiches. I will always remember the one and only evening we treated ourselves to Steak-N-Shake.
From there I’ve had my ups and downs when it comes to money yet I’m always reminded of what my dad says: “you come into this world with nothing and leave with nothing.” Therefore, I consider every bit of my life a treasure. We had difficulties yes, but we had love. Love that was so strong that it held us together (even when we were apart). Love that was so strong that even after all we had experienced and the hurt we put one another through, we could move past it and remain in contact. Family|Blood|Matters.
Whenever I begin to stress, I remind myself of what my dad says and it all makes sense. You don’t have to give a lot. It’s not about the material things, it’s about the love you show; yet when you do have the means to give – you might as well do so because we do not take our material things with us when we leave. We do not take our money with us. Share your wealth with others rather it is spiritual, material, relational, etc. – it all makes a difference… and remember how you affect others is what lives in memory. What you have doesn’t.
“We come into this world with nothing. We leave this world with nothing.” Knowing this, what will be your imprint on life?