Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Friday, May 29, 2009

Making Other People Rich

What a silly idea. I have to pay my bills, take care of my family and myself. Why should I worry about making other people rich? No one is standing around trying to make me rich. In fact, most businesses are trying to make me poor by charging high prices, interest rates and taxes. The mortgage failures, stock scandals and pension cancellations are all about taking as much money as possible from people like me to make the business leaders rich at our expense. You bet I don’t think about making other people rich.

Enriching others is not an economic principle; it is an attitude toward life. It goes along with having a generous heart and enjoying a prosperity consciousness. The saying “the more you give, the more you get” falls into the category of making others rich.

We actually make other people rich when we pay our bills. Lots of people benefit from our willingness or the necessity of paying our bills. When we buy a tank full of gas we make others rich. The employees at the filling station, the truck drivers that deliver the gas to the station, the workers at the refinery, the oil company, the stock holders, the ship crews that carry the crude oil from foreign lands, the oil drillers, the owners of the oil wells and so on. The same chain goes on in the food, clothing, communications and all industries that we depend on and enjoy. We may argue that some people in that chain are paid minimum wage while others take home enormous profits. That inequity is certainly true. When we pay our bills we provide money for many people in our society and they are enriched by our actions of paying the bills. When we see those positive results of spending our money, our consciousness and attitudes may change.

Instead of seeing the bill paying as a problem, we could see it as a way of enriching others, of helping other people live and indeed prosper. I am writing about an attitude of heart and mind, a way of looking at how we spend our money. Instead of hoarding our money and trying to spend the least amount we can on what we buy, we can see that whatever we buy not only helps others but also makes other people rich. It also trains our minds to be prosperous.

In 1995 Malden Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts burned to the ground. “…the CEO and owner of the family run business decided to continue to pay his thousands of idled workers for a full six months! It was a decision that ended up bankrupting the three generation old company, but Aaron Feuerstein, the CEO and owner, says: ‘Maybe on paper our company is worthless to Wall Street, but I can tell you it's worth more’” He saw that paying his employees was his moral duty. He may not have put it this way but he was making his employees rich rather than impoverishing them.

Making other people rich works on me also. I can feel generous and giving. I also may take more responsibility about what I choose to buy.

A way to put this into practice to is watch what we think and say when we have to make a choice about buying something. To make it personal, I have enough money to buy an expensive Mercedes. I am tempted to say to myself and others, “I can’t afford a Mercedes.” The fact of the matter is that I am quite able to buy the car but I choose not to spend my money on that particular car. I do not choose to go into debt or spend my savings for that purchase. Prosperity consciousness acknowledges the truth that I have the money needed for the car. I have choice in the matter. I choose not to spend my money on that car.

Many people give up their lives for their money. Men and women are willing to work 24/7 to earn more income or make their company more profitable with the hope of big stock options upon retirement or when leaving the company. Physical health is harmed, families are broken and relationships shattered.

A woman friend said to her husband, who after retiring twice took on another high-paying job involving extensive traveling, “How much is enough? We have two homes, two new cars, our children have finished school, and we have plenty of money to live on. How much is enough?”

Certainly this man is making others rich by creating jobs and spending money. It seems he is making himself poor by recklessly working.

The willingness to make others rich involves making one’s self financially stable, yet taking responsibility for how the money is spent and its effect on one’s self.

To reiterate, making others rich is not an economic theory. It is a way of looking at money and one’s self. It relates to our character and consciousness. It is an attitude toward life.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Trinity, San Francisco, Building Must Close

Sunday, Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dear Friends,

This is sad day. The Trinity congregation – or what’s left of it – was told this morning that the building must be closed in September 2009. The Interim rector, Bishop Otis Charles and priest volunteer, David Forbes, came by our house to tell us yesterday morning. The church has no money and is in debt to the Diocese for back salaries. The building must be evaluated by engineers and architects to make sure it is earthquake proof. An initial study would cost $350,000. Repairs would run into the millions of dollars. Neither the parish nor the diocese has that kind of money. The building must be closed as it is uninsurable as it appears vulnerable to loss of life should an earthquake hit and people are in the building.

Here is the miracle waiting to happen. Someone will give or raise the money for the study. When they find out the cost of repairs – some millions- some group will go to the larger community to raise money for the preservation of this landmark building. Meanwhile, the congregation may still hang together and may move back in several years from now – if the building gets fixed and the people are still there.

Ann and I were quite weepy when we heard the news. I put a lot of my life keeping the parish going, 1981-2002. Ann was confirmed in it and we were married there in 1983. We had so many funerals of men who died of HIV disease in the 1980’s. So many wonderful people, deep and moving moments, and lots of laughter and music filled our lives and those of the members over the years in that glorious building.