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Earn, Spend, Give

Admittedly, almost every week during Mass, my mind wanders during the homily. Yes, sometimes I am thinking about what to make for lunch, but sometimes I hear something in the homily that inspires me to sit and meditate on it, and for that I cannot feel guilty.

Today, I contemplated my guilt. The priest was asking us to go out and serve others, even just one other person. Service is so close to my heart that I sometimes struggle with feelings of inadequacy, that I’m not doing enough to serve others every day.

Others might find this strange, but I often feel guilty when I receive my weekly pay. I enjoy my job so much, that sometimes I feel uncomfortable getting paid to do it. Last night I worked, and had a blast crawling around in a homemade fort, spying on a cardinal’s nest, and reading books at bedtime. I know what I do is valued by the family, and I love being able to give of myself in this way, but does being paid diminish my service?

It’s here that I remind myself that money is a part of life. I love being able to give of myself, but I also enjoy eating out at restaurants with my husband, buying new running shoes, attending yoga classes, and traveling, all of which require me to spend money. While these are not necessarily things I need, they help to bring a balance to my life. These things allow me to spend time with those I love, to learn and grow, and to feel reinvigorated when the opportunity for me to serve arises. I’m learning to spend my money wisely and purposefully (although, don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect and I do still sometimes indulge in lattes, race entries and other relatively selfish items.)

Sometimes the money I earn allows me to better be able to serve others. Beyond just giving financially, my paychecks have allowed me to go out and serve. In order to spend time with my friends in Honduras, serving Sociedad Amigos de los Niños, I have to first buy a plane ticket. I also pay for my transportation, food, and lodging there. To me, though, this is a small price to pay for what I am able to accomplish, and for the meaningful connection I’ve developed with this place.

Working with some friends on a security wall for the children. Photo courtesy of another friend.
Working with some friends on a security wall for the children. Photo courtesy of another friend.

Right now, I am currently making another investment by participating in teacher training at 502 Power Yoga. The suggestion that I go through teacher training to be able to participate in outreach programs was the deciding factor for me to place my deposit. My dream is that I will be able to bring the joy and power of yoga to children and young adults, both in this country, but maybe abroad as well. I’ve already thought about what it might mean to do yoga with the children in Honduras…

My conclusion this morning is that I am blessed to earn money by doing something I love. I know that many people work jobs they do not enjoy, or do not find fulfilling, but I am glad this is not true for me. I shouldn’t feel guilty about earning money, as long as I use some of that money to others’ benefit, participating in and encouraging a continuous cycle of giving.

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