To be human is to know and experience loneliness and, in that loneliness, the longing for connection and communion. Some of the most soulful, simple, and compassionate people I know are financially wealthy and, like me, have a longing for love, friendship, community, and communion. Some of my most generous friends are people with an intellectual disability who have no money and who experience an almost unthinkable vulnerability in our modern world. They, like me, long for friendship and communion.
One of the myths we tell ourselves about money is that money will bring us happiness. Years ago, someone with a lot of financial wealth said to me, “You know, don’t you, that people who have money are neither less lonely nor happier than others? We are just more comfortable.” My superficial response was to smile and nod. When I realized he was not making a joke, I replied, “Tell me more.” We had a short but heartfelt encounter in which he shared some of his loneliness. I could connect with him because I too know about loneliness.
—Henri J. M. Nouwen with Nathan Ball, A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition (Upper Room Books, 2019)
Do you sometimes think more stuff and more wealth will make you less lonely and happier? Join the conversation.
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
—Mark 10:25 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Creator God, Give me vision and mission, so that I may find new life and direction.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
For inspiration and encouragement for aging faithfully, visit UpperRoom.org/OlderAdults.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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