From Riches to Humility | Teen Ink

From Riches to Humility

October 20, 2007
By Anonymous

My mother always said to, “live in the now with the Great Spirit guiding us to the right path.” Even though I do follow this advice, it is nice to think of the past and go “Wow.” I have grown-up from being a total brat into a better person. The divorce between my parents made me see things in perspective of what was more important in life and what was not. This story is my story.

“Mummy, why are we moving?” I asked my mother as we were in the small travel plane, flying over the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean away from my home in the Caribbean. She responded with, “We are moving to Weddington, North Carolina for the several reasons which I can not explain right now, but one reason is to get away from the hurricanes that come through the island every year.” In my heart, I knew it was something else, I knew it was the recent fighting between my parents that we were moving away from my father and my home. “Will we ever come back home?” I asked in desperation, while my older brother was in the back watching the ocean underneath the plane pass by. She replied with a no. It almost broke my heart to know that I would never go back to the home on the zenith of the mountain and to never come back to the deep clear ocean water that surrounded the island of St. Thomas. But the worst blow was the fact that Dad would not be living with us when we move into our new home, he will only visit. This to me at three and a half years old was the beginning of the end to my life, as I knew it.

The plane landed and we were on the way to our new home. In the car, I was dreading to see the house, but I was also very excited. It was going to be our new paradise; it was going to be a place where I was going to finally start school, and it was going to be a new life for my mother, my brother and me.

As we drove nearer to the house there were more trees and a fewer number of tall buildings. We were in the countryside. This place was like a forest compared to the island. The trees grow to the size of the Empire State building. We were not in the tropics, anymore.

The house finally entered through my eyesight and it was huge. The house was made out of rich red bricks, there were six windows in the front god knows how many others were on the house and on the roof were two dormers. The shutters were all dark blue close to black and the front door was the exact same color. I ran towards the house with utter excitement. Back home on the island our house was small compared to this monster of a house. It was a wish come true. My mother ran behind me with a key in her hands and quickly opened the door. My brother ran in front of me and shouted, “I call for the biggest room.” I ran after him. I wanted the best room in the house.

In the end, my brother got the big room while I got the smaller one, but I was happy, for I had the best view. The view was of the front yard that had a few trees and plenty of bushes that were in bloom with beautiful pink and blue flowers.

After picking my room, I went to explore the mansion. To the right of my bedroom was the stairwell, my brother’s room and my mother’s room. To the left was a little hallway that lead to the playroom and to another set of stairs. This was a grand house. Downstairs there was a big kitchen with an island and connected to it were two living rooms. After the living rooms was the dinning room. It had a glass chandelier in the middle and when I turned on the light it sparkled like diamonds in the night sky. What incredible riches we have in this world I thought, and I want it all.

The next day, we went shopping for furniture, since we could not bring any with us. The surprise was that Dad came from the island to help us out with the buying and choosing of the furniture. I was so happy to see him and I could tell he was happy to see us too.

Once we got to the furniture store I wanted to have everything that the store had and more. I almost ran the store dry with all of my wants, and my parents obliged in buying everything that I especially wanted. One of the items that I had to have was a set of furniture that had hand-painted flowers and was made of pine.

Time passed and I continued my rampage for more material possessions. The belief was if I got whatever I wanted it meant my mother and father loved me, and if I did not get whatever I wanted then I believed that they did not love me. This to me was a game of love and I always won. The game filled the playroom with more toys than I could handle and too many stuffed animals congesting my room. As I got more stuff the fighting continued. Every time my father came to visit, there was always an argument and my father started to have random violent outbursts towards all of us. No one was safe from the outbursts. I began to notice that the more he drank, the more irritable he was towards us. He would make it up to me by bringing presents over from the island or from his travels with his work as a goldsmith. But this game was about to end when the “D” word came into the picture. I knew it existed, but I did not think it would happen to us. Divorce.

The fighting got to its breaking point. My mother filed for the divorce. My dad did not like it at all, and he stopped giving my mother money for the house and for our survival. To be vengeful he canceled all of our health insurances, credit cards, and with that destroying my mother’s creditability as a consumer. Instead of being a housewife like she always was, she got a job and started to work hard for us to survive in this cruel world. We started to sell everything we had to keep a roof over our heads. I was the last one to do any such thing because I was stubborn and determined to keep my collection, but in the end I realized that this was real. I would rather have a place to eat and sleep than to be homeless. After a few months, we sold the house and bought a much smaller house taking what was little we had left after the many yard sales.

In the first few items that I sold, I felt despair coming over me, but after awhile I began to be enlightened. It is not about the giving of gifts obsessively that tell people that you love them; it is the time you spend with the person through the good times and the bad times. My mother in the past years has been doing just that. Instead of giving me things that I wanted, she gave me her love, and in return I have her my love, and the same was for my older brother. Even in the hard times that he put us through I still love my father. For if it were not for him, I would still be that spoiled brat and would never have learned what love really was. Also, I would never known what things I needed to be grateful for, like my health, my family, my friends, my home, the food that I eat, the bed I sleep in, and our wealth. I am in high school and I want the world to know that material possessions are not important in life, and if you are able to afford all these material possessions be humble and grateful. Everything may disappear into thin air like mine did. This is my story and this is only the beginning.

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