Who is A Wealthy Person?
(Impressions, Beliefs, and Definitions:
In part 1 of this
piece, we wondered about the test of wealth and who really is a wealthy person. Perhaps we could use a few practical situations. I have been fortunate to see many wealthy persons in my life and if you have a moment, I will tell you about some of them.
Once, I saw a man who had lived in a low-income neighborhood all his life. Depending on his meager salary, to raise all his children till they became great achievers and carried on his legacy of contentment, hard work, and hope. He never complained or showed lack in any material possessions. He said that his clear conscience was his strength, and that his faith and contentment in Spirit was worth more than any material gains. He said his secret was that he worked for everything he wanted and that he earned all that came to him. He was a wealthy man.
Once, I saw a woman who said she inherited her father’s immense material possessions but that it came with her father’s concerns also. She had to do things and pretend a lot to fit into the design of the lifestyle created by her father and those around her father. Then one day she woke up and realized that she had no identity as an individual. She was merely the badge and perpetuation of her fathers’ zeal to acquire more material possessions without end or limit. She stated that she found freedom and happiness when she gave up the possessions of her father and married a struggling man who loved her so much. They did not have the possessions of her father but she realized that life had lots to offer than mere acquisition of material possessions. She found satisfaction in her new life and it was a fulfillment that she would not give up for all her father’s possessions.
Once, I saw an elderly musician with an old instrument playing away with carefree joy. When I got to know him, he told me about the many other musicians he had taught how to play music. Many of them went ahead to become great musicians and celebrities. When I asked why he had so much talent and never cared to go public or record his music, he asked – “for what?” “My greatest joy and satisfaction comes from playing music and passing on the gift to others. Nothing would mean more to me. I am grateful that I was able to care for my needs with the little I have been able to make playing music at the local level,” he insisted. “My life has been wonderful, why ask for something more when I have no need for them?”
Once, I saw a supposedly “mentally ill” woman playing with her toddler (child). They seemed to be in a different world, but in their eyes I could see that nothing else mattered as much as the bond they have for each other. They expressed contentment in life and in what they have. Hunger, homelessness, lack of clothing, or the lack of physical cash did not seem to bother them. As they played together, I remembered all the other toddlers I had met before. I remembered how they smiled and played with everyone regardless of age, race, or disposition. I remembered their wealth in love, joy, and peace. I remembered their abundance in forgiveness. I remembered how even after any altercation, they were willing to forgive and move on to the next moment, bearing no ill will against another.
Then I remembered that as we grow from childhood to adulthood, we begin to think like adults and the society begins to feed us on concepts of worldly limitations. We begin to think in limitations of white and black, good and bad, great and weak, big and small, wealth and poverty, and even more. Yet, it remains certain that the pressure of society is one thing while the consciousness and perspective of parents/guardians remains different but very significant in molding the child’s preferences and perspectives. It is a great gift to realize that whether one is wealthy or poor is mostly dependent on one’s perspective and level of contentment. Such an understanding is priceless.
This is only my understanding, and I am still learning.
Mbamara, May 2007
to Part 1 of this Editorial:
Beliefs, and Definitions (Who is A Wealthy Person?)
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Oliver Mbamara is an Administrative Law
Judge with the State of New York. He is also a filmmaker and a Published
Poet and playwright. For more on Oliver, please visit
For background/research reference on this
piece, click on this link
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