When I lived down south, I had a friend that lived two entirely different lives. When he was younger, he lived a very luxurious life and now he does not. It was amazing to listen to the stories.
My friend would tell me how he once owned a ranch and several cars. There was a time that he never even drove any of his cars himself, because he had a driver. He would awe me with stories about his own private jet. His pocket change was more money than I hope to make in my life time. One story in particular really caught my imagination.
He told me about one day when he bought a Taco Bell restaurant. He told me where it was located, but I had never been there so it did not stick with me. He said that within the hour he sold the restaurant again for multiple million dollar profit and he had never even set foot on the property! Wow! What I could do with that much money. My mind still reels with the plans and ideas. Most of which include bettering other people’s lives, of course. But then I remember where we were when he told me this story.
We were sitting in his kitchen while his wife made dinner. His home was a semi-detached house. (I think of it as a town house of only two houses.) The wall treatments and flooring, even the furniture, looked very much like his mother may have chosen these in her early twenties. Everything was well taken care of. Nothing was threadbare or falling apart. I guess the best way to describe it was carefully inherited. They did not inherit this home or anything in it, that is just the impression one got from their home.
My friend’s car was barely good enough to get him to work daily. There were days when it could not live up to that one task. There was no status or glory in this car. It was a good dependable car when it was originally bought. It was well past that though and they were not the original purchasers.
The family was always well dressed. Their clothes fit as well as any family trying keep two growing boys. They did not have name brand clothing. They did not have what you could describe as wardrobes or even large collections of clothing.
Nothing about this setting said luxury, wealth or even abundance. The question that begged to be asked came out of my mouth before I could stop it. “What happened?!”
His reply was stunning, “I gave it up.”
“What do you mean you gave it up?”
“I mean when I had all that money, the ranch, the cars and so on, I almost lost my wife, kids and my soul.”
My friend then wove a tale of not being home very often. A tale of fighting in the few moments he was at home. A tale of bitter loneliness. His wife grew weary of this and decided to control the one thing she could control – herself. She moved out to a small neighborhood in the middle of almost nowhere (the same place where these stories were shared). She took the two kids with her. She told him she would not share the life he had, but he was welcome to join her in her new life.
It took him a while to come to his decision. His choice included a rough adjustment. He took a job as a butcher near his wife and rid his life of distractions. Now, he is much like most family men – struggling to make ends meet. He has one difference. He knows the poison of abundance and is content with the meager life he shares.
He says the choice was an abundance of soulless junk verses the abundance of love. I’m not sure if it was my story it would have the same outcome.
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