Because You Left Me Everything
It’s an insurance policy that belongs to all of us that comes with a guarantee
My hope is to leave my children the same wealth that my parents left to me. This has nothing to do with material things. Instead, this richness is something that all of us can leave to our children, regardless of our circumstances, as this wealth is close at hand! It’s an insurance policy that belongs to all of us that comes with a guarantee. Sure, you might even be thinking to yourself, “It’s easy for her to say that since she has material things at her fingertips!” But that wasn’t always my situation. We all may aspire to have material wealth for a richer, fuller life of happiness, peace, and love. But we’ve also been taught that wealth alone does not guarantee happiness. So what does guarantee happiness? This is something we all might want to consider to reap our own rewards.
The answer, the guarantee, is in the practice of giving. Whatever we give will come back to us a hundredfold. My parents gave me so much without using their bank account. They had little more than the clothes on their backs and their hearts full of love for me and my 16 siblings. But they certainly knew a powerful secret, and I heard their whispers — and we all have — if we listen. It’s up to us what we choose to accept of what has been given to us. Consider the list of gifts that were given to me, ones that multiplied a hundred-fold; I hope they will remind you of the gifts that also were given to you.
Confidence — As a young girl in elementary school, both my parents made a daily mention to me of just how smart I was. (But I never knew why.)
My mother, who kept our house in order, regularly praised my neat appearance, curly hair (that I didn’t like), and polished attire. She trusted me to cut and style her hair, and even pick out clothing for the rest of the family since she didn’t drive. That must have helped me to be the first girl in our family to drive a car, and to eventually attend cosmetology school. My father, a talented artist, proudly announced to us children that he was invited to design a prominent entertainment building in our town, and asked me to write a proposal for him because he felt I had a talent for writing. I was just 15 and I believe he helped point the way for me to become a writer later on.
Faith — As a young girl, both my parents trusted in the unseen presence of God.
My mother always mentioned God’s name whenever there was trouble, regardless of the circumstances. Her solutions never had to do with money or even her lack of education. Instead, she moved through the world by following her heart. Her wisdom and love for her children and family propelled her spirit to create joy and peace to anyone afflicted. She never sought solace or charity from others, but instead brought light to darkness in any way possible. This taught me how to reverse toxic energy by doing and giving. I’ve learned that this imbues me with a feeling of wholeness while healing and serving others. My father, in the heat of a devastating argument concerning faith, trust, and love, once burned a roll of money in front of us children, teaching us never to put money before any person, for this is not love. He taught me to love above all else, even when things weren’t given to me or shared with me. By giving all that I had, I always felt richer.
Love — My parents believed in keeping the family together and gave us kids sermons every night about the importance of love and marriage.
My mother was always concerned about difficult family situations, such as when children live under the same roof with different parents, and how this causes suffering. Through her stories of compassion for children, I learned to deal with living under conditions that weren’t always comfortable for me, but which were better for my children in the long run. This also taught me to live in my own skin and to see my own shortcomings, along with the beauty of forgiveness. My father always showed affection towards my mother in front of us children, and showed that when two people love each other, they can conquer the world. He always held my mother’s role as mother and wife in the highest esteem. This taught me to show affection to my husband before anyone or anything else, as well as to value my role in life as a mother.
Health — My parents were always actively involved in all of our lives and rarely had free time for outside social activities. They never shrugged off their responsibility to us, no matter what they may have preferred to do.
This taught me to take responsibility for whatever I need to do. Through this daily practice, I developed an active lifestyle that has kept me in better health, mentally and physically. It also allowed my children to enjoy the freedom of downtime or playtime.
Joy — My parents were always available to us, providing us with stability and a happy home life.
My mother was always at home, waiting with a smile for us to return from school or work, with dinner ready. This taught me that, regardless of my circumstances, that I or my husband would be there to greet each other and our children in the same way, with dinner and a smile. This also kept me busy and focused on my own family and our lives.
Hope — These are the blessed riches my parents left me. It’s my hope that I can leave them to my children, just as my parents did for me.
About Catherine Nagle: Catherine grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old-school Italian parents. Catherine’s artist father’s works graced churches and public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures, the works of Marianne Williamson, and through conferences, including the National Theology of the Body Congress.
She is an Ambassador of the Society of Emotional Intelligence and a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. The mother of two children, and now a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. She is the author of Imprinted Wisdom and a contributor to Anne Born’s These Winter Months: The Late Orphan Project Anthology.