Friday, July 31, 2009

A Definition of Wealth

The work day was nearly done. My 19 year old son, Joel, stopped by the house and busted through the front door with enough energy to light the neighborhood.
"Dad, let's go surfing. Its goin' off," the universal surf phrase meaning the surf is really good. And it was.

So we did. We surfed for almost three hours. Snagging waves, riding them through 3 - 5 - or maybe 8 turns if we were lucky. As one of us was paddling back out, the other was riding one in. We shared the glassy head high waves with only one other surfer right out in front of the house.

I couldn't escape the deep sense of wealth, a notion I had during the entire session. It is the ancient Hebrews, I think, and other ancient cultures, who defined wealth as not what you possess but rather whom you have around you. The ancient world defined wealth in the number of healthy family members, extended family, farms and cattle, and relational connections with influencial and healthy people. It was never about stuff. It was never about the size of my 401k or the the number of homes I own or how fat my eTrade account is. It was always the extended network of who a person was connected to.... who they are "with".

Tomorrow I will feel sore and creaky from the paddling. Today I feel wealthy. I am wealthy.

1 comment:

steven hamilton said...

wealthy indeed!

it sort of reminds of this quote on a different way of banking from chief maquinna of the nootka:

"Once I was in Victoria, and I saw a very large house. They told me it was a bank and that the white men place their money there to be taken care of, and that by and by they got it back with interest. "We are Indians and we have no such bank; but when we have plenty of money or blankets, we give them away to other chiefs and people, and by and by they return them with interest, and our hearts feel good. Our way of giving is our bank."