Real riches are soul-deep

September 15, 2010


Ordinary riches can be stolen.

Real riches cannot.

In your soul are infinitely precious things

that cannot be taken from you.

-Oscar Wilde

My parents weren’t as much interested in getting rich as they were in achieving some measure of security for themselves and their children. Children of the depression, they knew poverty, bigotry, ignorance. As far as money was concerned, they had their priorities straight.

My generation, though, has been consumed with getting rich. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much time in Silicon Valley, where mammon is often the backdrop, but that’s how it seems to me.

I did ok, more than ok, but I never did get rich and I don’t feel my life’s the poorer for it. My husband, raised with the same kind of parents, did even better, but I respect that he had his head screwed on straight and his life hasn’t been about work and amassing money.

One thing life has taught me is that the most important things in life are soul-level. That we each hold deep within riches valued above all else.

The day-to-day grind of work and life have a way of overtaking us. Some of us measure our progress by the level of our bank account.

But that’s not where the real riches lie.

It’s important to remind ourselves of these soul-deep treasures, to take them out and touch them every so often.

Tracy Chapman/All That You Have is Your Soul (lyrics below video)

Oh my mama told me
‘Cause she say she learned the hard way
Say she wanna spare the children
She say don’t give or sell your soul away
‘Cause all that you have is your soul

Don’t be tempted by the shiny apple
Don’t you eat of a bitter fruit
Hunger only for a taste of justice
Hunger only for a world of truth
‘Cause all that you have is your soul

I was a pretty young girl once
I had dreams I had high hopes
I married a man he stole my heart away
He gave his love but what a high price I paid
And all that you have is your soul

Why was I such a young fool
Thought I’d make history
Making babies was the best I could do
Thought I’d made something that could be mine forever
Found out the hard way one can’t possess another
And all that you have is your soul

I thought thought that I could find a way
To beat the system
To make a deal and have no debts to pay
I’d take it all take it all I’d run away
Me for myself first class and first rate
But all that you have is your soul

Here I am waiting for a better day
A second chance
A little luck to come my way
A hope to dream a hope that I can sleep again
And wake in the world with a clear conscience and clean hands
‘Cause all that you have is your soul

All that you have
All that you have
All that you have Is your soul

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