Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hitting the Jackpot

Jackpot slot machine 
The "big win" is a popular concept in our country.  People collectively spend hundreds of millions of dollars for a (slimmest of) chance at winning the lottery.  Fantasy football leagues with "big payouts" entertain even more people with a chance of winning it big.  After all, what could be better than instantly winning millions of dollars?  It's every person's dream.  With all that money, problems will instantly dissolve and endless happiness awaits.

Of course that is far from the truth.  In reality,  a big lotto payout is just as likely to cause more problems in your life, and happiness is most certainly not achieved through money.  This isn't some revelation I've recently had.  My opinion of the dangers often associated with wealth... more accurately with the love of money and wealth, is nothing new.  What is new, however, is my realization that I hit the jackpot.  A true jackpot, and it's more valuable than any amount of money*.

I've always known how lucky I am to have met and married my dream girl.  She continues to be an amazing wife and mother, and my amazement at what she does day in and day out is rarely expressed to the level she deserves.  And while "Mama" is everything I could dream of in a wife, I like to think that many marriages are built upon similar feelings for one's spouse.  So while I'm incredibly lucky to have her, I don't imagine I'm the only one in the world being blessed in such a way.
But it wasn't until last week that I truly discovered how lucky I am to have her a spouse.  Because along with marrying Mama, I married into her family.  Her parents and siblings are now a part of my extended family.  And they have welcomed me from early on as a part of their family, and I am very grateful.  But Mama's family also includes her uncles, aunts, cousins, and those married into her side of the family too.  I recently had the chance to spend a full week with many of Mama's family in New York.  We stayed and her aunt and uncle's house, packed full with family visiting from all over.  And while I've spend time with each of them here and there in years past, it's rare that we have a full week to spend with relatives, especially so many at once.  The week was everything we could hope for, especially for AJ who continues to talk about how much he liked it there.  It wasn't until I was leaving at the end of the week that I realized that I truly hit the jackpot.  It is one thing to have an amazing wife.  Better yet to have wonderful kids with that wife.  But how rare is it to have an extended family that graciously welcomes us into their homes without question.  We are made to feel right at home, and my children are treated by everyone with the love evident in a grandparent for their little ones.  There isn't a single person, on Mama's side of the family or my own, that isn't a true joy to be around.  There is no amount of money that can match the value of a loving family.  I've been so lucky to have been raised in such a family, and married into another.  Jackpot!

*After reviewing what I wrote, I realized the glaringly obvious. The true jackpot, more valuable that all of the world's wealth, is redemption and salvation.  But this doesn't minimize the value of a loving family.

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