(NNPA)—It is interesting. I recently had an opportunity to meet gentleman who served as ‘Chaplain’ for a cancer treatment ward of a major Los Angeles hospital. He told me that he provided spiritual counsel to many people, from many different faith traditions, and from every economic stratum…filthy rich to filthy poor. After further talking, we found each other interesting enough to sit down for a brief chat, which quickly turned into a most engaging conversation about ‘Life Economics’.
As we talked, the chaplain looked out of the window toward the Hollywood hills and referred to the disease of cancer as ‘the great common denominator’… bringing people who live at the top of hill, and those who live at the bottom of it, together on one accord. I thought that was an interesting observation, and listened on.
The chaplain began unbosoming a sermon citing that he had made a profoundly great discovery about human beings.
Being a perpetual student of life, I of course had to inquire. So, I did. The chaplain then slowly took a deep breath, relaxed his eyes, steadied his glare into mine and said… “Farrah. We are all the same at death’s doorway.”
Okay, admittedly, I didn’t immediately think this a ‘great discovery’. However there was something in the man’s eye that made me listen deeper to what he was trying to say.
“I ask one question of every patient I see,” he says. “How do you feel you have spent your life’s time? And, how do you feel you might spend it differently if you are gifted with the opportunity?” What a question. The chaplain continued… “Farrah. Not one of these people that I have counseled on their potential death beds have ever once expressed to me that they wished they had spent time making more money, or that they worked longer hours, or that they had spent more time in the office. Not one, Farrah. Not one. Yet in American life, that is all that we do. We waste our life’s time. And, the richer they are, the more filled with regret their face is.” He said no more, and just left it at that. There was nothing but loud silence.
I then peered out of the window onto the Hollywood hills, again seeing all of the expansive mansions in the distance; home to many of the rich and the famous that are celebrated daily. Then I thought of all the patients up and down the hospital’s hallways, and to let the curriculum of his lesson sink into my consciousness.
All of which made me focus with crystal clarity on the value and economics of Life-Time. It seems to me that at the beginning of life we are all (the poor and rich) given something similar to a trust-fund inheritance. Not an inheritance of money but something of greater value; an inheritance of time. And, this life ‘time’ is like an account that we withdraw from until our time is done. But, it is how we manage and invest this account of time that determines the quality of each segment of our lives. And, my questions to us is…are we sure that we are managing this account wisely, or just simply spending this time haphazardly in pursuit of things that have no real value to us in the end?
I am a businessperson like many. However, it is beneficial to us to remember that in our valiant quest for success and the acquisition of outer wealth, we supposedly do this only to increase the quality of our lives and the lives of our families. We say often that we want financial freedom that we may spend more time with family members. But guess what? You are financially free to do that ‘now’. Why? Because it costs you no money. It only costs us a little of the undervalued currency that we spend most of our lives improperly investing, until it totally runs out. Our ‘time’. And, today, as I reflect upon the many millionaires that the chaplain told me he watched die alone and self-alienated from their families, I wonder if they felt the ‘means’ justified ‘the end’ of their lives. I wonder if they felt rich as their money purported them to be.
I earnestly remind us…to spend the currency of your life’s time wisely. The outer-wealth cannot be taken with you. But, the ‘Inner Wealth’ will be the net-worth of your soul itself.
(Dr. Farrah Gray can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or his website at http://www.drfarrahgray.com/.)