33 without a house, apartment or assets. Our only debt to the many friends who have by their hospitality and generosity welcomed us into cultures spanning from the suburbs of Madrid to the incense-laden streets of Nepal to a mega-city of China and now to a small town nestled between the Basque mountains and the sea.
Though I grew up with an Australian middle-class edge on the world, I chose not to climb any ladders, but to learn about ladders.
- And I have learned that if you lay them across gaps they create bridges.
I know a land where everyone had everything, except Everything.
- And I have learned that life has less to do with what I can earn, and more to do with doing what I am passionate about, more to do with loving others and treading lightly on this earth, remembering I’m actually only here for a breath.
I have friends who earn a dollar a day, joining most of the world’s population. I have seen day labourers running back and forth on the coast in the USA to pack as many strawberries as possible. I have a friend in Australia who works two jobs, only to be paid half wages. Then I have two daughters who always have enough.
- And I have learned that the real question is not whether the simple life is irresponsible, but whether the privileged life is just. Whether wants are needs. And whether enough is enough.
The four sides of a photo can hold everything my wife and I own that we purchased new. This mountain bike, bought in Kathmandu, has carried me to Tibetan monasteries, past the Sydney Opera house, through the Midwestern woods of the USA. My second hand surfboard, shaped by a friend, has ridden over hundreds of waves with dozens of new friends.
- And I have learned that these items were purchased with time, because, as we all know, and feel more every day we grow older, money is actually time. The precious commodity, the substance of value is time, not bills or coins or sums on screens.
I have lived differently, and though the road was narrow, less-travelled, I look back and know it was the right way. I have acquired new skills, learned new languages, met new people.
- And I have learned along this Way that there is an eternal perspective, that everlasting life has already begun, and that there will be no end but a renewal of all things. There possessions fade, break and are forgotten, and the people around us are forever.
“Donald Trump: ‘I’m worth ten billion dollars.’ No, you’re worth far more than that. But so is the Mexican day laborer.”
By Jonathan McCallum