You can learn a lot sitting in a parking lot. The other day I was sitting in my car with my sons reading a book while my daughter finished grocery shopping. From time to time, though, I would look up and observe what was going on outside. One of those times I saw a huge, new, bright red, Cadillac SUV pull up in the parking spot beside me. Out of it stepped a well-dressed young woman in high heels. She seemed strangely out of place in the Walmart parking lot. Her face was tight and determined and her eyes hidden behind sunglasses. I watched her as she headed for the store and wondered about her life.
A moment later a 30 year old, beat up station wagon pulled up beside the SUV. It smelled of burning oil and probably didn’t have many months of life left in its engine. Out of it stepped a young Mom with 4 little girls all under the age of 12. All were dressed in well worn clothes most likely purchased at the local thrift store. She gathered them together, carrying the youngest while her oldest daughter gave a piggy back ride to another of the girls. They headed to the store laughing and talking all the way.
A while later I saw the Cadillac lady coming out, pushing a cart filled with a new television set. She slid it in the back and pulled out quickly, her eyes still hidden, her face still frowning. Fifteen minutes after her the station wagon Mommy emerged with her little girls in tow. They had a week’s worth of groceries in their cart. After unloading it, the Mom took out a two pack of cookies, broke both in half, and gave each girl a half of a cookie. They smiled like it was the most priceless gift in the world. As they pulled out I thought about the two women. I clearly knew which one had the most money, but I wasn’t sure which one really had the Most.
In this life there are many kinds of riches but the most valuable one of all is Love. The truth is that one who loves the most: learns the most, lives the most, gives the most, and grows the most in this life. And when we go to meet our Father in Heaven the only thing we will be carrying with us is the love we have shared. May you fill all of your days here with love then. It is the real riches of this life. And the more you share it, the more of it you will have to give away.
Joseph J. Mazzella