The Richest Person in the World

by | Jun 7, 1998 | Love, Treasure, Wealth

I will always remember Stella. Elderly, blind and living alone, one might think she should have spun long tales of hardship and misery. And I suppose she could have told such stories, but she made little room in her life for self-pity. She might have mentioned the deaths of friends and family, including her husband; the glaucoma which finally claimed her eyesight; the small pension on which she was forced to subsist and the arthritis which kept her homebound in a little trailer house. And nobody could blame her had she despaired that she had grown so dependent on others.

She never did lament about all her hardships, either past or present. But I frequently recall her enumerating her good fortune. Speaking of her son, she often said: “My Jimmy came to see me today. He’s so good to me!” Of her friends, she often commented: “I’ve been talking on the phone all morning. I’m so thankful I have such good friends.” Then, with a slap on her knee and a broad smile on her lips, she would invariably exclaim, “I’m the richest person in the world!”

And maybe she was! She had love. She found it in her friends, her family and her faith. She had everything she needed for a happy and fulfilled life. And what”s more, she knew it.

Stella spoke of her upcoming 90th birthday. “All my family will be here,” she smiled. And with that familiar slap on her knee, she exclaimed, “You know, I’m the richest person in the world!”

But she barely made that birthday celebration herself. Several days prior she was laid in a hospital bed and slipped into a coma. Her family was told she would die shortly. I felt sad that she would not experience her long-awaited celebration.

However, a strange thing happened. On the day of her birthday, she opened her eyes and greeted the smiling faces of family and friends surrounding her bed. She sat up and enjoyed birthday cake while someone read cards. They told her they loved her and they said, “Good-bye.” At one point, she looked at me with that familiar twinkle in her eye, smiled and whispered, “I’m the richest person in the world!”

Stella went to sleep that night and slipped peacefully away. I have often wondered if she felt sorry for those who have everything but happiness.

After all, they could be just as wealthy and happy as she, if they only realized that the greatest of all riches is love.

Thanks to Stella, I have now decided to become the richest person in the world! And I think I can!

From JOY ALONG THE WAY, by Steve Goodier

Thanks to Life Support


The Richest Person in the World