I am not rich. I am a long way from being in the 1% of the wealthiest people in the world, but I am thankful to have a house, a car, a computer, clothes to wear, food on the table, and more, especially because I know that many people around the world do not have any of these things. I am fortunate to live in a country where being even lower middle class (or maybe the upper poor) puts me at an economic advantage over most of the people in the world. And even here, in what is said to be the wealthiest nation in the world, there are those who live in utter poverty, who have no home and only a few items of clothing that they can wear. I am thankful that there are people working to help those in need and working politically to end income inequity as we know it. Some day we shall all be equal not only in declaration but in reality.
Of course we all know that riches are meaningless anyway. Possessions can be stolen, houses can be lost in fires or floods. Things don’t matter.
What matters is love.
All that matters is love.
What matters is leaving more love in the world than there was when you came into it.
Love cannot be stolen. It can withstand floods of hatred and fires of scorn. It is everlasting and fills us more than any feast and the more of it that is given the more of it that is returned. I feel as though I am fortunate to be among the 1% in love. My life is filled with it. I have a life partner of more than two decades (going on 23 years) who loves me deeply and has helped me to realize the fullness of my being. We stand together in love and celebrate who we are as individuals and as a united couple. I am incredibly thankful for Brian and all that he has given me in our union.
My mother, whose health has been declining and who through sheer willpower and strength keeps hanging onto her life, still loves me when she recognizes who I am. She raised me with love, stood by me with love regardless of my faults and my mistakes, and I know she still holds that love in her heart for me and all my siblings. I am thankful for the way she raised me, for the ethics she provided to me. When all else is lost I will still have my morals and my conscience to guide me and I can thank her for that.
My family–siblings, nieces and nephews (and great-nieces and great-nephews), and cousins all accept me and love me for who I am. We share blood, stories, tribulations, and love. For all of them I am thankful.
There is also my family of choice, the friends and the people I choose to surround myself with, who love and support me in so many ways that I cannot begin to count them. My life is filled with people who are selfless, gentle, good people who are trying to make this world a better place for all. I give thanks for their daily gifts of conversation, support, and love.
Indeed I am a rich man. My heart swells with the fullness of the love that surrounds me. For this, more than all else, I give thanks on this and every day.