A great man used to tell us
“Life’s hard. Then, you die.”
Tough words to live by, right? How many people want to believe that? Isn’t is just cynical and depressing?
But it’s true. I have proof.
What is the American Dream?
Yes, we have much opportunity here. We are able to accomplish whatever we choose to accomplish. It really is amazing, and we really do live in an incredible country. Whatever you want to do, your opportunity to do so is available.
But. I would say that the majority of Americans don’t chase their dreams and that the American Dream has become diluted to I can work and make all this money.
Let’s label the former mentioned American Dream as Babs and the latter as Buster.
If we are chasing Babs, we are working constantly. We are excited to work. But there is always something mixed in with that work that we don’t want to do. So… work isn’t always fun.
Then, there’s the fact that the beginning stages of chasing Babs results in little to no income, has to be done during our spare time that doesn’t really exist, and carries an enormously high risk of failure with it.
It’s pretty much a hobby that we’re good at that we want to make a living doing. The percentages are against us.
There are so many reasons to give up. Always an excuse to quit.
If we are chasing Buster, we have a job that pays us enough to do many of the things we want to do. We have happy wives (or husbands). We have awesome kids. We have pets. We have nice stuff. We have a house. We have things. And things are fun to have.
But. There’s that job…. the one that gets on your nerves on a monthly, weekly, daily basis, the one that causes you to go to sleep on your anger, the one that is to blame for your hypertension and risk of heart disease.
We feel like we can’t complain because it’s such a good job and it pays so well. We’d be foolish to leave it.
Do either of these sound familiar?
Remember to stay in shape.
Take out the trash.
Remember dental hygiene.
There is always dirty laundry.
There are always dirty dishes.
The dishwasher is broken.
Your 1-year-old is hungry.
The grass needs cutting.
Feed the cat.
Feed the dog.
Love on your spouse.
Make money money make money money money.
Pay the bills.
The refrigerator is leaking.
Get 8 hours of sleep (yea right).
Get the box spring from your sister that she’s been trying to give you for a year.
Remove kitchen sink.
Install new kitchen sink.
Build up cabinets for new counter tops.
Next free weekend, visit family.
The next free weekend is in 2 months…
You may have multiple kids in school. Make sure they stay healthy, fed, up to date with homework, etc. Make sure to attend as many sporting, gymnastic, dancing events as possible.
Also, don’t forget to remain informed in the upcoming election. Everything you read or hear is manipulated half truth so the only source you really have is…. well… nothing. So rack your brain trying to figure out what you can even do.
Ummm…. what else do I have to do today? I know I’m forgetting something. I’ll remember when I leave the place I was supposed to remember it at.
And, of course, MONEY.
Ever heard one of these?
“You don’t have a retirement plan?”
“You really NEED life insurance.”
“You’ve gotta build your credit.”
“Why haven’t you consolidated your loans?”
“You need to buy a house now while the market is doing so well. Now is the best time to buy.”
“The market is going to crash this year.”
“The market is going to crash next year.”
“Interest rates are at an all-time low. You need to get on it now.”
“Renting is a waste of money. You need to buy.”
“You should be investing in gold.”
“You should be investing in silver.”
“Why don’t you have your 401K set up?”
“You should probably get a credit card.”
(TRUE SERIOUS ACTUAL DISCLAIMER: I am NOT telling you to do none of these things. We will talk about them all at some point.)
OK… I need to focus on getting a retirement plan. What are my options? I could invest in gold… or silver… which one will offer me the highest return? And how much do I have to invest? $25? OK, that will get me about $302 in 10 years.
So… 401K… who do I call? Does my company even offer something like that? Does my company HAVE to offer something like that for me to get one? What is a 401K? Will I get 401 thousand dollars? Because that’s what it sounds like… It doesn’t matter I don’t make money. We have no excess.
Alright, no retirement for now. But what about life insurance. That one guy seemed very concerned about my well-being when he said I needed it for my family… and it can build cash value so… if I pay $150 a month, I can get $50,000 when I turn 70……. What? $150 a month?! And Smokin’ Hot Wife will only get $200,000 if I die? That won’t even pay off the house!
Well, let’s just skip to the credit card. We should get one, apparently. But Pops told me never to get one. Was he right? Everyone keeps telling me to build my credit. A credit card can do that, right? 23% INTEREST?!?!?! WHO LET THESE PEOPLE OUT OF PRISON?!?!?!?!? Screw that. No credit cards.
Since we have no savings and money is very tight, let’s see about consolidating our loans. We have a car payment and credit cards. In 3 years we can be out of debt. But if we consolidate, they ‘re telling me it will take 7? That can’t be right… Is that right? The Daewoo isn’t that fancy.
Babe, we gotta buy a house. Everyone keeps saying the market is gonna crash and we won’t be able to find a good interest rate. We have to buy now. I know we don’t have the money but we just have to. Everybody says so.
(The above mentioned thoughts and situations are not entirely my own and have been fabricated to some degree.)
Simply thinking about this stuff will drive a man insane. Your mind is swarming. Always. The brain is never at ease. It’s no wonder we forget milk. It’s no wonder we forget names. It’s no wonder we forget what 7×12 is.
It’s no wonder!
I wish the main concerns in my mind were of the easier type.
Like… when will the Braves make the playoffs?
Or… I sure hope Todd Gurley puts on his big boy shoes this weekend.
Or… I wonder how Rick is gonna get outta this one… Negan is awfully scary.
Or… UGH! I want one particular thing for lunch, but for some reason they think closing on Sunday is a good idea.
How in the world is ANY man (or woman) able to focus on all this stuff? How?
Have I painted a clear enough picture that life is hard? These are true adulthood thoughts. And they can escalate as quickly as we want them to.
“…Then, you die.”
I used to be terrified of death.
I was probably 7 or 8. I would have nightmares where I would die in some way (falling from an extreme height is one I remember most vividly). I would fall and hit the ground, I knew I that my life was over, and everything would go black.
And that was the afterlife. Nothingness. Darkness.
I would wake up out of breath and go to Mama’s room and tell her I was scared, but I never told her what I was scared of. I was scared all the time. Some days at school I couldn’t even concentrate. I would think the worst would happen every day and I would die and experience darkness for eternity.
I don’t know if everyone goes through this fear but I know at some point we all think about it because He has put eternity into man’s heart.
We all know it. We all discuss it. We all ponder it.
“Life’s hard. Then, you die.”
Honestly, some of the best wisdom I’ve ever received.
This is what I hear when someone says I need a retirement plan:
There is no hope for you without a retirement plan.
When someone says you need to build credit?
There is no hope for you without credit.
When someone says you need life insurance?
There is no hope for you without life insurance.
There is no hope… There is no hope… There is no hope…
Let me tell you something about hope.
It isn’t in work.
It isn’t in time.
Listen! It isn’t in your country! It isn’t in your president! Not your Congress. Not your ballot.
It isn’t in money. It isn’t in gold. It isn’t in silver. It isn’t in life insurance, credit cards, loan consolidation, retirement, blah blah blah do this, do that.
It isn’t in that crap.
If you put your trust and hope into these things, your trust and hope will fail you. We put way too much thought and energy into these WORLDLY PATTERNS!
We must look beyond the world for trust and hope.
Please, taste and see that the Lord is good. He is compassionate even on the unkind and evil.
Why put stock into possessions on Earth where the thief approaches and the moth destroys?
“I have been blessed to make hundreds of millions of dollars in my life. I can’t take it with me. And neither can you.” – Denzel Washington
(Go to 2:50 to hear, or just watch the whole thing)
If you are sick of your hope failing you, hope in The Unfailing.
Do not conform.