“So what have I got? Some fancy clothes, a nice car, gorgeous women, a good job. But I haven’t got peace of mind. And if you don’t have that, you’ve got nothing.” This quote is from my favorite movie, Alfie. At the end of the movie, the title character is reflecting on his life and realizing that all his material gain is worthless because in the pursuit of pleasure, he’s lost his peace. My life used to look very much like Alfie’s. I could afford nearly anything I wanted, I made thousands of dollars a week, and I was miserable and suicidal. I had achieved material success, but I had done so through dubious means, and in the process, I had completely lost all peace I might have ever had. It was awful.
Today I am materially poor. I wear second-hand clothes; I buy new things only when my mom is able to send me money; the food I eat is purchased with food stamps; and I am able to live at the Refuge only because of the charity of others. None of that stuff matters though. I do not need material wealth to be happy. (In fact, today I might count material excesses as being an obstacle to happiness.) I have realized that all I need to be happy is to have peace, and peace comes only through an intimate relationship with Jesus.
I no longer have a wardrobe full of designer clothes or a wallet full of money. I don’t count those things as a measure of my success anymore though. Those things never did and never will make me happy. I know today that all I need to be happy is the peace that comes from going to bed every night knowing that I have done my best to live the way Jesus intended for me to live.
-A Humble Refuge Guest