Today I’m going to try something different. I’m going to try writing using one of the writing prompts given by our Blogging 101 course. The one they’ve selected for today is You’re a winner. You’ve won the lottery. What will you do with it. This reminds me of creative writing back in elementary school. Our teacher would give us a prompt and 20 or so young minds would scramble to tell a story about it.
So I’ve won a billion tax-free lottery dollars. Here’s my story:
I’m still in a state of disbelief. I buy tickets infrequently and never believe this could happen to me, even the tickets that normally find their way into our home are bought by my husband. Still pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.
We travel to the lottery office tomorrow to find out the details. But for now my mind is spinning and won’t stop. How will I ever sleep tonight?
So far details haven’t been confirmed and no one else knows we’ve won. I say we’ve because my husband and I share everything. We are a team, a union of two souls, who have changed into one entity. When one celebrates, we both feel joy, when one hurts, we both hurt. So when one wins, well, you’ve guessed it, we are both winners!!
Even though this particular time I happen to be the one to have bought the ticket, it is our winnings and I would never dream of keeping it all to myself.
A billion dollars. So overwhelming. What am I going to do with this money? Family and friends are going to come asking for sure, for loans, gifts, etc… and I don’t know how to handle that. Do I hire a financial manager? Are my husband and I up to the task? Will giving family and friends money, hurt our relationship, screw up their lives?
What can I rightfully spend this money on without feeling guilty. I don’t want to waste it or become lazy because I’ve got money. I also don’t want to consider this mine, because everything I have is actually God’s. I need to start there, I guess. I need to start with prayer. To find out how He wants me to handle this. Oh man, I feel like my problems and stress are just beginning.
I used to dream of this moment and plan all the things I would buy. A new house, a new car, clothes, maybe a maid, of course give “some” to charity, but life would be easy street for us. It’s funny how far I’ve come from that mentality. Now I see the responsibility of the winnings, the fact that I would have the power to change lives and the overwhelming responsibility of it all.
My perspective in life has changed somewhat from the early years of our marriage when we struggled for every dollar. We watched everything we purchased and had no room in our budget for waste. Now almost 36 years later and we are somewhat comfortable. If we want to order a pizza for supper, we don’t have to cut something else. If I need to buy an unexpected item for the home, I don’t have to worry I’m not going to be able to pay a bill.
So while money isn’t the overwhelming stress it once was, we’re still not on “easy street”. However, my realization that it also isn’t the answer to happiness has also grown.
I’ve seen a lot of life and hopefully have a lot left to see. I’ve seen heartache, newborns dying, people starving, people who don’t have food or fresh water daily, broken hearts because of selfishness and the pain and destruction divorce leaves on lives. I’ve seen people struggle with cancer, sometimes not just once in their lifetimes, but more than once. Right now I have a friend who’s been diagnosed with more than one kind of cancer. While she was taking treatments for one kind of cancer, another kind has started growing in her body. Money can’t change things for her. It could ease some things, it could buy her treatment, but it can’t cure her. It can’t convince the man who thinks he’s no longer in love with his wife, that he made a vow and needs to choose to honor it, to not walk away from his family. It can’t stop the sickened pedophile from damaging another young soul.
It is so limited.
It can be used for good or evil. And now I feel the need to check carefully into how I’m going to spend this, or save it, or whatever I choose to do with it. Thankfully, I do have a very wise husband who has great insight into financial matters. We will discuss and make decisions about it together, prayerfully, so that the most good can be done with it. I need to make sure before I donate to a charity that the charity is using those dollars honestly and wisely. I will worry if I donate to a person in need that they will use the money wisely or will it hurt them more? Honestly some people do not know how to handle money and by just handing it over, it could mess their lives up even more. Watching a recent television series we saw a great example of that. A young man on Breaking Bad had come into quite a bit of money from selling drugs. Trying to escape the bad decisions and pain in his life, he immediately took the money and used it buying more drugs to consume. He could have really changed his life around had he used the money in the right way, but instead he will once more be broke and have even more heartache because of the drug usage.
All this to say, I don’t know how I would spend it exactly. I wouldn’t turn it down, but I would look at it with a lot more wariness than I would have 20 years ago.
I am a winner.