Money and the Meaning of Life

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Money and the Meaning of Life

This post has nothing to do with my dream of attaining personal financial mastery.

But I have a story that wants to be told. What I know about insistent intuitions like this is they’re usually trying to tell me something. Not just the literal something they’re telling me – they’re drumming at me with a deeper meaning I need to grasp. So I hope you’ll ride along with me as I tell my tale. I expect we’ll come to find out what is down the rabbit hole that may have something, after all, to do with money.

O Psychic One Contemplates Minor Surgery

Recently I took O Psychic One to the doctor because he is suffering his annual protracted sinus infection. The poor kid is miserable. Every winter he is miserable, all winter long. The pediatrician finally threw in the towel and sent us to a head and neck surgeon to schedule a tonsillectomy.

A tonsillectomy, while not to be entered into lightly, is not that big of a deal for a child. My older son, Sir Empath, had his out at age five, and his life was changed. Like O Psychic One, Sir Empath used to snore like a logger, until the day after his tonsils came out. He too had chronic respiratory infections until the day his tonsils came out. So there is much to recommend this procedure and O Psychic One was all for it. Until the surgeon got to him.

The surgeon reviewed the case and agreed that the tonsillectomy is medically indicated. He then proceeded to review the side effects and potential issues raised by all surgeries done under anesthesia. Issues like severe pain. And death. And lungs filling with fluid and collapsing. Oh yeah, let’s not forget excessive post-surgical bleeding that could require a second surgery. Why just yesterday, says the surgeon, I saw a 10 year old who was choking on his own blood and we had to re-cauterize him in the emergency room.

Believe it, World of Dreamers, A doctor uttered these dire words in front of a 12 year old. I was so stunned I said not a word, just willed this appointment to end so I could get O Psychic One out of there.

You can imagine his reaction. Mom, I am not ready to die. I’d rather have a sinus infection and snore (and really, who wouldn’t?). Mom, what happens after I die, will I go to heaven or hell? Mom, what does it feel like when your lungs fill with fluid? Will it stop hurting after I die?

Mom’s Inner Beast Roars

I mean to tell you, I snapped. Lost it. And just at that moment, I got a call from the surgery center to schedule the surgery. I said to the scheduling person, and I quote except for the left-out expletives, “I would not let that surgeon lay a finger on my child if he were the last doctor on this planet.” Then I burst into tears and slammed down the phone. Or actually I threw the phone into the back seat of the car. I hate that you can’t really slam down a cell phone.

Then I turned to O Psychic One and apologized through my tears. He looked at me for a second, threw his arms around me, and said, “Thanks for protecting me, Mom.”

But wait. There’s more. Yesterday, O Psychic One came into my office and said, “I’ve just had a revelation.” Really? I said. What’s that?

“My life is really good,” says O Psychic One. “I have a home and a bed. I have food to eat every day. I have you to protect me and take care of me. I have so much to be grateful for.”

This is not normal conversation for my moody, dramatic son. Normally he leans to the pessimistic side of the boat. The rest of the family has to throw our collective weight heavily to the other side to keep the boat from heeling over on its ear. Let’s just say he’s got the classical artistic temperament, in spades. But you know why I think he got this sudden ray of sunlight?

Because I showed him that I care. I didn’t just tell him that I care. I didn’t just soothe away his fears. I threw a flat out hissy-fit in his defense, right there in front of him. He could see I meant business.

O Psychic One soaked up my shouts and tears in his defense like they were rain in the desert. A beautiful little flower bloomed in that desert after the rain fell. He had a moment of truly, fully, consciously loving life – because he knew for sure he was loved by his mom.

Money May Be Tough, But Life Is Still Really Good.

Well. I just got what the connection is to money. I’ve got my faults. One of them – a big one – is a lack of personal control where money is concerned. That fault has caused O Psychic One grief, even if he doesn’t consciously realize it. But I’ve also got my strengths. One of them – a big one – is I love my sons, and I make sure they know it.

World of Dreamers, take it from me. Over-focus on your faults hurts. Remembering the stuff you’re doing well helps. Take a moment today to reflect not just on what you want to change, but also on what you love just as you are.

What are you good at? Leave a comment and let us congratulate you for it.


Jayne Speich is a small business coach/consultant who writes, thinks, and coaches extensively on customer service, business finance, and ways to thrive in the new economy. You can find her at Jayne’s post day is Saturday.

  • kathleen

    Nice article! It was a pleasure to read it :-)!

  • Jayne Speich, Financial Assistance

    I loved that story, Cath. Except it made me feel I have a really long way to go as a parent! But…channeling Lisa’s teacher…I am perfect as I am and I can joyfully improve…
    Thank you also for the generous compliment. I look forward to writing my posts, and thank you for the opportunity!

  • This reminds me of one of my favorite stories by Leo Buscaglia called Papa, the teacher:

    I always look froward to your Sat posts, especially when they involve your son.


  • Katie Eigel, Travel & Wellness coach

    You are one helluva mom!
    Thank you for bringing us back to the present moment.

    P.S. The health coach in me, who suffered life-long chronic sinusitis, wants to tell you to try limiting dairy intake with your son and see if that helps any. It helped me. Just food for thought.

    • Jayne Speich, Financial Assistance

      Thanks, Katie – we did try limiting dairy. It seems to work for him in the summer, but the winter is just a slog for the poor kid. If I had a nickel rebate for every box of kleenex he’s been through – well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be worrying about mastering money ;>)

  • Lisa

    Jayne, I loved this: “Take a moment today to reflect not just on what you want to change, but also on what you love just as you are.”

    Amen! You’re so right, focusing all the time only on what’s “wrong” with us hurts, and I’m not sure it’s the best way to facilitate the desired change, either. I really believe that the more we love and accept ourselves AS WE ARE, the more we are likely to transform, more quickly and hopefully less painlessly, into what we “wish to be.”

    My spiritual teacher Nithya Shanti has a beautiful phrase that captures this for me. “Everything is perfect, and it can also joyfully be improved.” This, of course, includes you! (and me!). I remind myself of this when I feel like there are parts of my life that are “not how I want them to be.” I remind myself that I’m also just where I need to be right now to learn and grow, and that there is so much in my life that is going right.

    Beautiful story – indeed, what an awesome mom you are! :)


    • Jayne Speich, Financial Assistance

      Lisa, thank you so much for your comment and especially for the quote from your teacher. It literally gave me a shiver to read such an awesome truth. Not like “awesome, dude,” but like – awesome, that we are perfect as we are and perfect as we improve. I won’t forget that one!

  • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

    What a story – and knowing what you went thru that day, and how the emotions were high for both of you, that he was able to sift thru all of that and get the real point…and you talk about protecting him in this way, maybe its a question of ‘what is the best way to protect (our kids) when it comes to our mastery of money” – i’ll let that rattle around in my head for a while. I salute you! what an amazing mom. xox Rem

    • Jayne Speich, Financial Assistance

      Thanks Remy … I think it’s the kid that makes the mom, in this case!
      Protecting kids from monsters is what parents do…and lack of money mastery is as big a monster as can be. Thanks for the comment! Jayne