I think that it is timely that I wrap up this series a day before a Faithful Friday installment, as I would have to address my musing via the spiritual lens. If you have stayed with me up to this point, please know that I am thankful, and that I sincerely hope that you have picked up something from my personal realizations.
“Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy’s first law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world’s one, and only truth.”
— Alphonse Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist (Hiromu Arakawa)
No matter your creed, this is a very universal statement. Nothing in this world comes for free: you give money in exchange for commodities, you give time and skill in exchange for money; and as I believe, a Life was given so as I can live mine in freedom. Only God can make something out of nothing.
“You can have it all – just not all at once,” Oprah Winfrey once said. I still believe that. Inasmuch as we, as a human race, love talking about being “unlimited”, or having “unlimited potential,” in order to obtain something, something else has to give.
Hoarding does not just apply to tangible objects. Like all behavior, it is an outward manifestation of something deeper in the heart and mind. While I am not able to pinpoint one thing as the source of my hoarding, the term, “poverty mentality”; or the words, “greed” and “envy” aptly illustrate my state of mind.
I feel that people would agree that material addiction (or any addiction, for that matter) comes from an experienced lack, the depths of which may vary. I have had an instance in my past that I felt that I could not ask anything from my parents because all I could hear from them is that, “We don’t have money.” – when they actually do, and are willing to provide for us kids. So once I was able to earn for myself, I spent money and acquired things as if to make up for lost time. I felt that I lacked words of affirmation, and so I attached myself to the next guy (and the next one, and the next one) who told me I was beautiful.
“Oh, Cielo, how could you be so dumb~?” I can hear you say. “You’ll find your fulfillment in _____ !”
That blank can be filled in with whatever floats your boat. I fill that blank with Jesus.
There is a deluge of Christianese threatening to break the dam of my mouth – or my fingers as I type, but that is it. I cannot say that I have achieved “Christian nirvana” (as if those two terms could co-exist, but for illustrative purposes –) but I am learning. I am learning to depend on God and find my fulfillment and identity in Him.
I have learned to ask God for whatever, and I get an answer – in the same manner that I have learned how to take down my pride, and ask my Dad or my brothers for whatever help I might need. I found love and affirmation, knowing that even if I were the last person on Earth, My Creator would still come down and die for me, and give me eternity. I am learning how to loosen my grip on money, not to spend on myself, but to help others out and to be faithful in giving. I realize that I no longer need to be overly attached and to hoard material things to fill the “God-shaped hole” in my heart. I am learning how to make peace and let go of my past (grudges? What’s that??) so as I can look forward to the future.
I willingly give up my brokenness for the wholeness and perfection of God. I willingly let go of the burden that weighs down my back, admit my weakness, so as I can stand tall and raise my face to the God who upholds me. “Equivalent exchange” is just the start of an idea, as nothing compares to the gift of grace that only God can give.