A year or two ago I was having a conversation with a friend who is a one-half of one per center. He stated that anybody could be bought for a price. I didn’t think so. At the time I was busy writing a book about growing up seeing angels and spirits, working forty hours or more a week as a low-level bean counter and trying to keep up with the two dogs who own my husband and me. I frankly could not see how he could buy me with all of his money. With my little family around me, I am a billionaire.
My friend conceded the fact. You can’t buy what is freely given away.
That is the point of life these days. I’ve had the years of struggles, of attempting to deal with my spirituality in spite of hearing from all corners that it is impossible. I am a very ordinary person, just another peasant from a long line of peasants. We are not rich or famous or noteworthy for much of anything other than having ancestors who survived millennia of wars in Europe to escape to the relative placid countryside of America.
Being ordinary was something to which I was taught to aspire. Nothing fancy, nothing special. Just an ordinary guy with an ordinary job living an ordinary life. Money can’t buy that. Having love certainly helps.
Now I am an old man. Looking at the sweep of history, I have lived far longer than the average man. For all the days of my life I have done something which very few people in history claim to have done. I see angels every day. I expect to see God and Satan any time I turn a corner because frankly that is quite a common occurrence in my life. It is expected. I expect to open my bedroom door in the morning to see a houseful of angels, Native American spirit guides, totems (I’m used to the wolf pack and the puma living with us, but if any others move in we’ll need a zookeeper to track them all) and the spirits of various relatives.
While I wish I could tell you that I’ve seen all of this from the time I had black hair to now when it is almost white--what’s left--I cannot simply because the Native spirits and my husband’s totems and relatives are new in the last few years. Seeing my own grandparents, my father, angels and saints are all what I expected. God and demons are expected.
Studying European and East Asian history in college and later reading the books in which the family tales of Chinese spirits and demons came so vividly to life made me rich. I loved reading how authors like Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan grew up in worlds where this was their reality. The spiritual world breathed. Years ago when I travelled to France and met up with Thomas Aquinas again in the ancient Dominican convent where his bones reside and we conversed for some time before I walked through the convent and spoke with the spirits of Dominicans long since gone, the spirit world breathed.
I work in the world of finance. In this very practical place where the first thing I read daily is the website of either the Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg, spirituality is not considered to be part of the mix. Life in the financial world is supposed to be about money, not love, unless one is discussing the love of money. For this low-level bean counter life is entirely opposite from the expected.
Why live in a world of things that ultimately fail when I could live in a world of riches? Granted, my world, the spiritual world, is thought to be pretty esoteric. That is true if the fact that we wake up in the morning, breathe, brush our teeth and live our days is esoteric. That is true if we can’t feel air in our lungs.
In my world of angels and demons even counting other people’s money can bring little moments of knowing I am in the right place doing the right thing. Coming into the gift of writing about my real life bring riches that cannot be counted.