Thursday, March 5, 2015

I Am American But I'm Not Rich!

We just returned from a lovely, relaxing 8 days in Cancun. Several times I mentioned to my husband, “Why do they assume that all Americans are rich?” My husband replied, “Because compared to most of them, we are rich.”

According to American standards, we are NOT rich. Far from it. We live from payday to payday. We aren’t foolish spenders. We have a budget and stick to it with very little wiggle room. We do have a nice home – in a borderline low-income area. We two decent vehicles. We have plenty to eat, nice enough clothing, and…well, we are blessed. But NOT wealthy! And I am humbled and grateful to God for meeting our needs.

It frustrates and irritates me when people in other countries try to milk money out of us for no other reason than they assume we are rich. The beautiful resort we stayed at – all a generous gift from loving relatives – tried to sell us a timeshare package. Despite our repeated statements that we could not afford it, all they did was send in another person to try to convince us to buy. A statement was even made to us, “But you have the money to vacation in Cancun!”  Seriously, I was insulted. We would not have been there if it wasn’t gifted to us. After we sacrificed our two hours of high pressure sales pitches, we had a fabulous time. The resort staff, food, and accommodations were so much more than we imagined.

I also have learned to not accept friend requests from anyone in foreign countries who I don’t already know. I have accepted many requests in the past, mostly from those claiming to be Christians and involved in ministry. I’ve had to unfriend them because I got private messages asking for money for them or their ministry. It was always a guilt-tactic presented as a Christian, I should help them. I feel I may have limited myself from some enriching friendships because I just delete all friend requests from other countries now.

I do have numerous writer friends on Facebook who live in other countries, but I have made their acquaintance, or know of them and their work. No wonder people flood our borders. They’re looking for the American dream of prosperity.

God help us to be grateful for our blessings, to not compare what we have with others more prosperous, to always be willing to help those less fortunate than us, and the wisdom to not be taken advantage of by others. To let our “no” be given in gracious kindness so that those like Estelle at the resort who was part of the high-pressure-sales-team who leaned over and ask me, “Are you Catholic?” When I answered, “We’re Christians,” she said, “I see the glow of love in your eyes.” Then Estelle left us alone, and someone more aggressive slid into her seat. LOL 

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