The Haves or Have Nots – Have What?

I hear the term ‘the haves and have nots’ quite often when the media talks about the new laws affecting the people of our country. I often wonder how each one of us identifies ourselves with two such simple, definitive categories of either having or having not.

I think ‘have and have not’ simply refers to the material, financial and economic status of a person. Is this enough to use as a metric to determine the achievements and success level of one’s life.

Naomi is one of those that people call a trophy wife. She is blond and gorgeous when she is fully made up. She dresses in designer clothing, drives an expensive car, lives in a million dollar home and eats at upscale restaurants. Her full time job is getting the best pictures to post on Facebook to share with her circle. The more “likes” she gets the better she feels and then the more pictures she wants to post. Between taking the kids to school, the pedi-manicure, the hair stylist and fashionista shopping, Naomi is fully focused on being the main attraction in all of her social media networks.  When someone asks her kids what their Mom is doing, the answer is always something like, “ Oh, Mom is the model of her social circle.” This daily display keeps her busy, makes her feel like she’s in the game and validates her existence in this virtual world. Her life with all it’s riches and the life she creates on screen is a life that many people dream of. They call it a perfect life…this trophy wife and her trophy life.

Is Naomi’s the life of the Haves?

Katy is a single mom, working two jobs to raise her two kids. John is fourteen years old, an honor roll student who works part time in the school year and full time in the summer. Caroline is sixteen, in AP classes and on track to graduate high school one year early. She helps walk neighbor’s dogs, babysits and tutors.  She saves all the money she earns to use when she goes to college. Her dream of becoming a dentist is a well known dream since she was a little kid. John and Caroline both love their mother, Katy. They hope to get great jobs to be able to help and support their mom when she is older. The family of three live in a low income one bedroom apartment. All three share a seventeen year old Tacoma pickup truck that serves as dump truck when they get a weekend clean up job in the neighborhood to earn extra cash. Breakfast does not exist in the family daily routine and the kids get lunch at school of whatever the school cafeteria offers for low income students. Dinner is a combination of the either write off (expired code) sandwiches from Katy’s job or can foods and some vegetables. Their clothing  comes from either Goodwill or local second hand stores and even manage to get shoes at a deep discount. The local Taqueria is the fancy eat out meal that Katy saves for special occasions such as a birthday, or for receiving good grades from school. Despite all the hardships, Katy is always an optimistic person, often smiling and laughing easily when in conversation. John and Caroline are popular in their school and loved by their teachers and classmates. When asked by others, the two kids never miss a chance to say, “Our Mom is sacrificing her life for us.”  Nowhere in their day is there time for perfect picture poses, no reason for posting or bragging on Facebook , and definitely, no energy to anticipate the “likes” from others to make their day brighter. To Katy,  providing for her children and their happiness and approval is all she needs.

Is Katy’s the life of the Have Nots?

Let take a little time to think through these concepts here.

The Haves: You have all the convenience money can provide, the most reliable car, the best technology, the best service, the best seat on the airplane, the best seat at the theater, and on and on. You will go through life as the lucky few living with privileges. You will tell your kids the stories of all the places you have visited in the world, which steakhouse has the best filet mignon, which car has the biggest engine that can accelerate in a second, which vacation resort has the best tequila, which speed boat has the stable feeling launching forward, which cruise line has the best organic Kobe beef, which brand of Spandex is best to hide your muffin top and who is the best plastic surgeon. The haves are easy to leave a relationship since there is not much financial hardship or dependence on each other to make ends meet. It would take such tremendous effort to surprise or impress the Haves. Are they happy?

I just wonder, what do the Haves really appreciate in life?

The Have Nots: Your life is a constant struggle. You have many jobs, juggling from one job to the next, trying to raise a family in between. Public transportation is challenging as it takes time and money.  Food is scarce and time is even more precious. Every paycheck, you make the hard decision of paying the utility first or phone bill, the car payment or the kid’s school lunch program. Vacation is one full day off a year during holiday season. The special travel trip is to go downtown to the Goodwill. The smallest gift is always welcome with a huge smile and big gratitude. A birthday meal at the local Applebee’s or Chili’s is such a big deal that you will don the best outfit you have in the closet. In between jobs, having a few minutes with your kids is the best thing you look forward to, or an extra few minutes of sleep is the luxury of the day. You live daily life building a better future for your kids, every single cell of your being is for a single purpose of having food on the table, having heat in the winter and having a roof over your family’s heads. Your kid’s good grades greatly motivate you to work harder, their smiles and their amazing growth before your eyes inspire you to take extra step.  A hug, a kiss, an “I love you Mom or Dad” is a rainbow in your horizon. It takes so little to make that huge impression on you.

I know, the Have Nots appreciate everything in life.

If you had a choice between the Haves and Have Nots, what would you prefer? Would you like to live your life without any worry, no work, no purpose, and no hardship? Or would you like to live with little means, dealing with life’s daily challenges with such clarity and purpose that you know you are living the life you were meant to live.

I have been living the life of the Have Nots, and I am blessed.