If we base what we really worship and trust on how much effort, how much thought, how much concern is expended on it with each breathing hour of each day, I must confess before you and the One who made me that I worship and trust money more than God. I wish this was not true.
I talk with God a lot. I praise God in the car on long drives and first thing each morning. I spend my life trying to connect people to God. But honestly, I worship money. It’s The American Way.
As the mom of three young adults who’ve committed their lives to film, linguistics, and urban farming as opposed to “more profitable” employment endeavors, I totally get the relief that parents feel when their children are called to aeronautical engineering or brain surgery. We want our kids to be able to support themselves and maybe even take an occasional vacation. And yet, it is – in the end – about a calling. Some of us are called to the law and some are called to the dirt. But we let money get in the way.
This interview between Michel Norris and recent Columbia University graduate Gac Filipaj struck a nerve. As an immigrant to this country, Mr. Filipaj has duly noted that most Americans are hugely concerned about money. Yes, issues like student debt, unemployment, under-employment, fore closings overwhelm the news each day. But many of us let money rule our hearts and goals to the point that our true selves get lost.
Gac Filipaj – who worked his way through Columbia working as a janitor a la Good Will Hunting – majored in classics. After Ms. Norris noted that majoring in classics is not exactly a lucrative course of study, Mr. Filipaj responded this way:
You were born in United States and you speak money first. . . I’m not doing it for the money.
What are we doing for the money? And is it worth it?
Money is a good tool for sustaining ourselves and others, but it’s a terrible god. If it rules us – and it rules many of us – life will sour, sooner or later. I haven’t heard any graduation speeches highlighting this particular truth, but – really – life is much sweeter when money doesn’t control us.
That’s easy for me to say when I am employed and able to cover my mortgage. Of course we need money to live. But how can we help each other shift, even in slow ways, to a place where we make choices based on what feeds our souls? Does it embarrass anyone else that “being American” means speaking the language of money first and foremost?