I was clearly reminded the other day during lunch with another, of a former life where I once had loads of money daily at my fingertips. A former life that would alter my ego so much, that I became totally oblivious to the fact that I cared more about myself and all my worldly life achievements than those I spent time with.
Having lunch or just spending time with anyone in general is always a blessing to me because I often find myself spending time alone. So, when I got invited to break bread with someone that I really didn’t know all too well other than from brief time spent with them in the rooms of recovery from addiction, I quickly accepted the invitation and looked forward to it.
When the day arrived for that lunch, this individual picked me up, as I didn’t have a vehicle given it was in the shop for repair. Upon entering their car, they immediately apologized for having to use their relatively new Lexus that was normally meant for transporting their dogs. I learned quickly after that they had at least six other vehicles in a ten-car garage, some being extremely high end, which suddenly led to this compulsion to verbally expel an apology for me living in the ghetto. Their response to that was how they once had to live in a place just like mine. Over the next two hours, I’d learn all about every place they’ve been recently and every place they’re going to in the upcoming weeks, as well as all the high-end suites they’ve stayed in during those travels. I’d learn how big their house is and how many Christmas trees they put up in it during this holiday season. And I’d learn about the many prominent business entrepreneurs they’re connected to and all their future business prospects as well. But what I didn’t learn is why they actually wanted to spend time with me in the first place because not once was I ever asked about anything in my life whatsoever. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Not a single instance during our entire time together did they try to get to know me better, which by the end of it left me not only feeling less than, but also wishing I had just stayed home. When I got dropped back off at my house, I still tried to give them a hug though, like I always do with everyone I spend time with, but it was meant with an uncomfortable response of how their Lexus wasn’t conducive for hugs. But there was a blessing in disguise through all this.
I was this person not too long ago. Back before I lost my bed and breakfast in 2010, when I easily could spend anywhere between $5k and $10k a month, that is exactly how I used to be, except I didn’t know it. I was completely oblivious to how I acted with my income I had then. While I was surrounded by a lot of people then, it was all superficial and I never cared much to go deeper with anyone I spent time with. That is unless there was something in it for me. Rarely did I care about how others were doing or how they were feeling. I had little to no empathy for anyone or anything, except for myself.
Money has a way of doing that to a person. It has a way of going to one’s head, which is no different than any other addiction frankly. With any addiction, the quest is always on getting more of that addiction and chasing after what it has done, can do, and will do for an individual. In this case, money can become the focus of one’s life where it’s used for ego, to flaunt upon others. And I know that all too well from how I once was, but thankfully, I live quite differently now, having been humbled through many losses over the past decade or so. This humility I’ve experienced has really helped me to realize the power that money once held over me. A power that left me mostly void of kindness, unconditional love, and a true empathy for the people God placed on my path.
So, in the end, having this lunch with this individual where my life became invisible to all their financial successes actually became a blessing in disguise, as it clearly reminded me of how far I’ve come on my spiritual journey. Because today, I care more about the lives and hearts of those I spend time with, wanting to know each of them more deeply, rather than living in my ego, where I was always focusing more on myself and what I had than anything else.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson