Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I heard from someone over the weekend. I wouldn't even really call her a friend. At least, not anymore. We knew each other through a mutual friend about 10 years ago, but, as often happens, we drifted. We were both divorced and we remarried the same year. The gentleman she married was (and is) very wealthy. Over time (not that long a time) I saw that wealth change what was a sweet, caring person into a selfish, thoughtless egomaniac. It was an astonishing transformation. And not a pretty one.
She honestly seemed to believe that the money made her better than everyone. She quickly forgot what it was like to have to earn an income, take care of a home, the normal daily grind that the majority of us have to face most days.
I hadn't heard from her in quite awhile and that was fine by me, as we really don't have much in common anymore. So I was surprised to hear from her and curious as to why. And I still don't know why she called.
After the initial greetings and the "OMGs! What a surprise", I continued the conversation like, I believe, most of us would, by asking "So, how are you?" And that was it. She just prattled on about her "problems," such as having to travel with her husband to the Far East (he likes her with him when he travels on business), which caused her to miss some society event that was, according to her, the "event of the year." And now, she HAS to go to their villa in FL, which she hates, because of some decorating "disaster."
Maybe, some of you reading this think I'm just jealous. Maybe, when I was much younger, yes. And, don't get me wrong, if I won the lottery tomorrow, I wouldn't give the money back. But, the entire time I was listening to her, I just thought "can she be that self-centered not to know that there are millions who would trade their problems for "hers?"
Anyway, after the call, I started thinking about something I read awhile ago. So I searched the internet and found it again. I wish I had a way to send this to her. But, then again, it would probably go right over her head.
A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at
a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired.
During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives.
Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a
large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups — porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking,
some expensive, some exquisite. He then told them all to help themselves to the hot chocolate.
When they each had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said:
"Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.
While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress."
"The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate.
In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink."
"What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup
... but you consciously went for the BEST cups."
"And then you began eyeing each other's cups."
"Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups.
They are just tools to hold and contain life."
"The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have.
Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate."
The happiest people don't need the best of everything.
They just make the best of everything that they have.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
And enjoy your hot chocolate!!