The Antidote to Misery
A lot of baseball players are millionaires, but even so, we can experience misery. We can buy two, or three, or four cars. We can buy boats. We can buy houses. But we figure out pretty quick that money doesn’t make things joyful. And if you don’t know how to use it, it can give you more headaches.
Not in all cases, but there are times when I feel like a guy on the team is searching, because he seems to want something big and new about every other month. For example, he buys three cars in one year. I’ll ask him, “Didn’t you just buy a car last month?” And he’ll say, “Yeah, but you know, then I saw this car.”
“So,” I’ll say, “Is it cool?”
“I guess it has a steering wheel, huh?”
“Gets you from point A to point B?”
“Well,” I’ll say, “Sounds like a really cool car.”
Then he buys another one, and I’ll say, “Same steering wheel?”
“Same side of the car?”
“Point A to point B?”
There’s nothing of practical value in repeatedly buying cars, although I get it. I like nice cars and I’ve even owned a few. But a guy might buy another car because he doesn’t have joy and he’s trying to figure that out. So he’ll say, “I think that car will bring me joy.” And when it doesn’t, he hopes a different one will do the trick. “Stuff!” they think. “Buy more stuff!” But it doesn’t work! So they seem to live at the address of misery.
They’re miserable because they don’t understand what to do with their talents. I popped my first well a few years ago, in Kazeera Uganda. I didn’t get to go, but I sent two of my Generation Alive staff, and they videotaped it. I watched over 100 kids run across a field to stand under water, clear water, and they jumped, and danced, and sang, and smiled. Then they just sat there and let the water pour over them. They had been drinking mud their whole life and dying of dysentery, so they found joy in a well. They found joy in simple, clear water coming out of the earth, water that would cure over 90% of the diseases in their community. I saw so much joy in Kazeera that I started weeping.
Americans have 25 choices of water! I mean, I can go with Dasani. Sure! Or I can go with Fiji, although I don’t. It’s good water, but it doesn’t fit in my cup holder. It’s got that square bottom, you know, so I can pick another brand. And another. We have all kinds of choices! We have tons of water, and yet even millionaires are miserable.
But I watched kids run across a field and find joy in water, because it gave them life. And that gave me life!
When you learn to love your neighbor as yourself, you will find that loving the poor will give you tons of joy. They will give you far more joy than you’re giving them. You think you’re giving them joy? Think again. When you love your neighbor as yourself, it goes both ways. There is just so much joy. I’m amazed at how much joy it gave me to watch those kids jump under water that’s clear. No car or house could ever give me the kind of joy that I received when I saw those kids receive life, simply because I said I wanted to love my neighbor as myself.
Simple water, provided for others, fulfilled me. More on this next time. See you Thursday.