Things I treasure
When I achieved Social Security retirement age last month (although I am definitely not retiring), I found myself asking meaning-of-life questions once again. That’s why the words of Jesus of Nazareth in the Gospel of Matthew — For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also — came to mind during this time of passage in my life. Jesus is not telling me what to do but inviting me how to be. The treasure of the spirit is not a “must-have” thing but an orientation, a way of being in the world, a way of experiencing life, a way of living in pure awareness.
As Jesus makes plain, accumulating treasures on earth, material things, are ephemeral, subject to decay and loss, and of no spiritual or “heavenly” value. Although Jesus does not say explicitly here, I think he implies that a storehouse full of earthly things is a false god, not worthy of our love.
Where is my treasure? Where is my heart? Such questions of meaning are not easy to answer as my life is full and complex. How do I discern where my true treasure is found and the place our true love is manifested?
I begin where I am, a humble being walking on earth, living in God’s grace. So the treasure and love I seek are right before me: I must simply look around and look within.
Wayne Muller in his book “How, Then, Shall We Live?” suggests a practice that is helping me discern where my treasure and love can be found. He invites me into a practice of attention to what I love. Muller writes, “Attention is a tangible measure of love. Whatever receives our time and attention becomes the center of gravity, the focus of our life, our outward and inward orientation. This is what we do with what we love: We allow it to become our center.” My center is my treasure, my treasure is my love, and as Muller writes, “What we love, we become.”
Where is your treasure? Where is your heart? May we all seek our true treasure and find our most abiding love wherever we find ourselves in the passage of life.
Photo: Rose Garden, Mohegan Park, Norwich, Conn.