Finding joy in the intangible

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by Kristin Gallagher, Business Manager—
KristinOver spring break, I took a trip to Honduras.
I was amazed at what I saw as we drove through the cities; houses made of cinder blocks and sticks, laundry hung across twine for miles and very few automobiles.
I was aware that people in Honduras live differently than we do in America, but it is so eye opening to see it in person.
It is even more surprising to see how joyous these people are. Even without cars, iPhones, laptops or video gaming systems, the people of this country are content.
I saw children running along the streets playing with each other.
I watched as we sped past people walking home with grocery bags and water jugs in their hands.
The people of Honduras are happy without stuff. In America, we teach our children at a young age that they have to work hard to get nice things.
While I lazed on the beach of Tabyana Bay, children not much older than 10 years were walking in the sun carrying shells and necklaces trying to sell them to the people passing by.
I talked with a Honduran man named Maylor. I asked him why the children were forced to work. He told me that children are never forced to work, but that they choose to.
“The children hustle for themselves,” he said. “ Just like everyone else. To get ahead for their families.”
My face must have displayed my disbelief as Maylor laughed and explained that work is easier when people are not so consumed with money.
“Money is such a simple thing,” he said. “People worry so much about it. But it is just a little thing compared to everything else in life.”
And among everything I experienced on my trip, that conversation made the biggest impact on me.
I do not say all this in hopes that everyone who reads this will drastically change their ways.
The reality is that all cultures are different and we are raised from birth to operate by cultural norms.
For some people, that entails a hard work ethic even at a young age, and for others it entails an immediate sense of entitlement.
But I do ask that each one of you consider this: We feel extremely blessed by the material things that we obtain throughout our lives.
We are taught to feel accomplished when we have a lot of stuff. I challenge each of you to feel blessed for other things in your life.
Things that do not need to be charged or the batteries changed. Feel accomplished for obtaining things that do not cost money, such as friends, life lessons and self-fulfillment.
Be content with your life and not the material things in it. Look for joy in something that is not man-made.
Because it is not stuff that makes a life worth living, but rather the pursuit of  such happiness.