All the If-Only’s
Throughout my life, there has always some particular thing that I was sure would be able to improve my life. For example, “If only I had bell bottom pants, everything would be better” (grade 6); “If only I had a better hair straightener” (grades 8-12); “If only I could find pants that fit me perfectly and I can afford” (middle school-college—my legs have always been too long); “If only I had a boyfriend” (grades 9-11—a little less superficial, perhaps, unless you knew my reasons for wanting one); “If only I had the money to do a semester abroad” (college)…
And the list goes on and on. You may notice that a lot of these things have to do with wishing for more money, or something that money can buy. And although I never would have put it into words this way, I realize now that I almost believed money could buy me a boyfriend. For example, if I could buy an incredible hair straightener to give me the straight hair that was so popular at the time, pants that fit me just right, and that Homecoming dress, surely some boy or other would ask me out. I should have listened more closely to the Beatles when they sang “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
Of course I found my love, and not because of what I was able to buy to attract him, but I still find myself slipping into the all-too-common mistake of thinking that money can buy happiness in some way or another. “If only we had the money to go on the ‘babymoon’ that all the pregnancy/parenting magazines and websites say is so crucial;” “If only I could afford a gym membership—that would force me to find the time to exercise;” “If only we could pay down all of our student loans today, then we could really start to save for building our new house.” Once again, the list goes on and on.
Sometimes it takes a tragedy to stop us in our tracks and remind us of how blessed we are, and of how much we have in our lives that we neither need nor deserve.
Theoretically speaking (since I am not a geologist and know nothing about the locations of the earth’s tectonic plates), what happened in Haiti could have happened here. Over the past week, Daniel and I have prayed for the Haitian people who already had so little to begin with, counted our blessings, and given what we are able. In situations like this, more money really can make life better for someone. Visit Catholic Relief Services for more information.