Wednesday, February 10, 2010


”What would you do if you had endless money and/or endless time?”
It’s Rachel asking. We are counting down her last few hours of anticipation before she reaches one of her great life goals, to be present at the Olympics. She has just told me that she would attend more events if she had endless money and endless time.
What would I do if I had endless money and/or endless time? Wow! What a question, just the sort of thing that ought to bring out the imagination of a true hope lady. So I am surprised and yes, a little embarrassed to find that no answer is leaping to my tongue.
”I don’t tend to want things unless I can afford them,” I babble. All the while I am scraping the inner sanctum of my brain. What is the matter with me anyway? Surely I can do better that that! I try to imagine myself enjoying the ultimate in creature comforts.
”If I had endless money and/or endless time I might choose to stay at the Jasper Park Lodge,” I say. I am recalling the times when David and I stayed there, the luxury, that feeling of incredible opulence. The queen has stayed at Jasper Park Lodge. Marilyn Monroe stayed there. That’s how nice it is.
We stayed there back in the days when there were lovely low rates for some romantic weekends. It was the low rate that got us there. The rates are much higher now—much higher than the rates at other hotels. The low rate included a room with a fireplace, one room-service breakfast and a several course dinner. I think there were chocolates on our pillows. It was wonderful.
Still, it seems kind of ridiculous to be mentioning the Jasper Park Lodge in a conversation about things that are really important. I have chosen not to stay there. Even at the higher rates I could afford this. I simply don’t choose to. I had that thrill already, and I can have a really good time in the mountains for less money without it. What would I do with endless money or endless time? More to the point, what do I do with the money and time I have?
I take great vacations and I don’t generally go to the office on Fridays. When I am at home on Fridays—celebrating a day off—I think about work. I think of it fondly. I don’t long to be at work, but I think about things I might write, presentations I might make, better ways of doing counselling. Sometimes I respond to work-related emails—not because I have to, but because I want to.
Don’t tell anybody, but sometimes, when I’m at work, I think about things that aren’t directly related to work. Sometimes I answer personal email. That’s one of the things I love about my place of work. They trust me to do what needs to be done, to do it in my own way. It makes me want to do more than I have to do.
If I had endless time I think I’d divide it evenly between work and play, spend more time doing both.
And as for money—well, if I had endless money and conditions stayed as they are now, I’d still want to work and I’d still want to play. One thing I would do is put some of that money into my work, to give it a boost in aid of some of the things I’d like to see. I’d like to see a large group of well-trained, highly-skilled hope-focussed counsellors paid well enough so that they could raise a family and travel comfortably without having to be married to somebody who earns a really good wage. I’d like their work to be supported so that it could boldly be offered without charge. I’d like to see a well-funded program of research around their work so that it could be disseminated in a manner that would bring respect.
All of this would cost quite a bit, but I believe it would be money well spent. It would be the fulfillment of a promise to myself that my treasured work would be made useful. And knowing that the promise would be fulfilled—I believe--would make it easier to step back and spend more of my endless time at play. I might even splurge on a romantic weekend at the Jasper Park Lodge.

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