Saturday, December 11, 2010

Does Money Grow On Trees? No... But It's OK, You're Already Rich.

 “The money tree is said to bring good luck and good fortune to your home or business. Its positive energy will eliminate the stagnant chi in your Feng Shui home.”

At least, that’s what the tag on the little Pachira Aquatica said. Since it was my first home, I thought I could use all the luck I could get. The mini tree was about a foot tall when I bought it, and since I had a bay window, it seemed like a cool thing to give myself as a housewarming present. That was six years ago.

In the time that this little plant has been in my window growing into a four foot high tree, many things have happened. For example, my Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, and I don’t use that word lightly at all, it was caught early (thank the Good Lord that he was vigilant about getting his tests when he was supposed to) and he was able to have surgery and is fine now. If that were the only thing I felt fortunate for, it would be enough, believe me… but there’s more.

Not the least of which is this horrible recession we’ve been in for what seems like forever. I also went through a divorce and took over home-ownership on my own. There have been times when I’ve been so broke that I didn’t have groceries, or enough gas to make it back and forth to work for the entire week without humbly having to ask for a loan from a relative, friend, or co-worker. Countless people have lost their jobs around me. Toyota put out tons of safety recalls, causing panic and fear in so many Corolla drivers… and I happen to have a Corolla, too.

Luckily, though, I did not get laid off from my job. I did have to forfeit overtime and absorb some additional work – but I still considered myself privileged to be employed. I never missed a mortgage payment. My car wasn’t part of the recalls. Although I had to ditch cable TV and change my cell plan, shut off my long distance calling on my home phone, give up Martial Arts classes, not use my clothes dryer anymore and stop going to the hairdresser, nothing BAD has happened.

I haven’t starved. I haven’t lost anything like my home or my car. I managed to find some ways to make extra money and cut back my bills in order to survive the economy as it has been. I’ve been extremely fortunate to get help when I’ve needed it from family and some incredibly good friends. Do I attribute these things to my plant? Well, no, but over the years that I’ve had it, this little plant has grown and grown, been repotted twice, dropping the odd leaf here and there, and eventually gone from barely visible in the window to over-filling the entire bay. Today I had to take the plant down from the window sill and prune it. It had been getting so tall and wild that it was starting to look unkempt. I felt a little nostalgic for it as I cut off it’s upper-most branches in order to force it to fill in wider rather than higher. I reflected on all that’s happened in the time I’ve had it. All that I’ve been through has been nothing more than mildly inconvenient compared to what some people are enduring, and I’m acutely aware that I am blessed.

Did my plant bring me a million dollars? Of course not. Do I believe it’s good luck? Probably not… but if you look at things from a practical stand-point, I guess it’s all about your perspective. I've taken good care of my little friend the Pachira Aquatica, and it's flourished. Has it provided me with "good fortune" in return? Well, I may not be rolling in cash but, plant or no plant, when I look at all the things that could have happened over the past six years, there’s no doubt that I’ve had incredible good fortune. I’m extremely thankful.

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