Beautiful Economy

Credit: wetribe on Flickr via Creative Commons

Credit: wetribe on Flickr via Creative Commons

I don’t like to dig into the details of growing up in my brand of poor. Suffice it to say that when I hear well-meaning Christians talk about cycles of poverty and the working class poor, I often feel the heat of shame creep up my neck as my hands start to sweat. I’ve lived on the rim of that cycle, teetering on the edge between falling into the void or being flung out into the uncharted territory of having money.

I still have many of the poor habits I grew up with, despite having amassed knowledge about personal financial management over the years. I’ve grown and matured in many ways as well, so I know there’s progress being made. Probably the most dangerous habit I struggle to shake, though, is still the mis-valuation of things. Or more specifically, of things that aren’t things.

I value spending time with people, which manifests in too many dinners at chain restaurants and lunches eating fast food with coworkers instead of inviting friends into my home. I value experiences, but haven’t yet learned to see the beauty in small experiences I can engage every day. So I spend money on train tickets and plane rides. I value relaxation, and suck at it, so rather than learning to find calm in the moment I spend money on weekends trips and days at the spa.

The journey of slowing down is an uphill battle for me most of the time. I’m more of a sprint-crash-burn-sprint girl. But I know the lesson’s worth learning. I want to recognize what so many, so much wiser, people have discovered. That beauty and peace and connection happen now, not when I get somewhere else. That there is more in the world to receive than what can be bought. When I invest in creativity, my own and others, or feel that heart connection in a conversation, or see a color I was blind to before, then I have become rich in a way that can’t be measured with paper and coin.

And if there come the singers and the dancers and the flute players, – buy of their gifts also. For they too are gatherers of fruit and frankincense, and that which they bring, though fashioned of dreams, is raiment and food for your soul.

~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet



  1. Adiel Gardner said,

    January 15, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    “The journey of slowing down.” I love that. I may have to quote you at some point in the near future. It really is a journey- one I feel I’ve been dawdling on lately. Slowing down to give each moment the weight and attention it deserves is hard work that requires diligence and discipline and all sorts of things like that that I just don’t wanna work at right now. It’s cold and gray and stuff! (Read that in the best whiny voice you’ve got and that’ll be close to how I’ve been feeling. )

    Thank you for reminding me that I need to amass the wealth that every day offers. I guess I forgot and needed you to spur me on. I pray that you’ll be able to find these treasures that are embedded in your everyday world. And then I hope you keep writing about them. 🙂

    • MandyK said,

      January 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      It’s very comforting to have traveling companions 🙂

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