Many years ago, before I had grey hair and my love handles my wife and I were volunteers with a church group to an orphanage in Baja, Mexico. Even as I write this I remember the warm nights, the air heavy with silence, the road was soft sand, no gravel to the orphanage and the skies were wide open. It wasn’t just the geography that makes the trip memorable 30 years later though. It wasn’t the food either, it was all pretty basic grub at the orphanage and the most striking memory in that respect were the chilies in the bowls at each table and that the Mexicans at chilis as part of their meal like i would chomp down one of our delicious BC apples. However BC apples are not super spicy, and just a bit of these chiles was too much for me to eat even if I chopped it up fine with my rice. Regardless the mexicans at the orphanage ate them whole and ate them plenty.
Not the geography, and not the food is the subject of this post though. The memory that I tucked away then, in 1980, and often remind myself of has to do with my vehicle getting stuck in the sand. I don’t know how it happened but my tires had spun their way into the soft sand on a road that went right by a shack. I mean a literal shack and outside this shack was metal barrel which was for cooking on by throwing wood inside it and lighting it on fire.
There we were, spinning tires, when out of the shack tumbled a very beautiful and happy family. I can’t tell you how many in the family, I only remember now the smiles, and I remember my impression how content they were. They laughed at our predicament and gave us a little push and we were out of our little rut. No gratuity requested or required, I don’t know if they knew we were volunteers, but there were no tourist spots anywhere close. I was a newlywed, and I remember saying to Sue (my new bride) – let’s never forget this day, happiness has nothing to do with money, it all has to with an attitude of being content.
At last I’m here, still reading? Money would make life easier… but it isn’t essential to being happy. I remember the smiles, and really in our lives the real joy comes from being loved, and accepting ourselves. Nothing wrong with a nice house and some toys sure but they don’t guarantee happiness as the overdoses of celebrities, and continual striving by millionaires seems to indicate.
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