We remember the words of our Lord Jesus: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
What would it take for you to be happy and fulfilled?
If I were a betting man, I would guess it has something to do with money. (And the very fact I refer to betting suggests my focus is on gaining money.)
In 1913, Marion was born into a dream. She was raised in a Hungarian castle -- attended by maids, butlers, governesses, and chauffeurs. When her family traveled, they brought their own linen, because using the bed sheets of the common people was below their dignity.
In Vienna, Marion met the movie director Otto Preminger, and soon they were married. They moved to southern California where Preminger's career took off, and the couple basked in fame. Marion ascended the social ranks as a prominent Hollywood glamour queen with the wealth to feed her obsession for high living and the latest fashions.
When I imagine happiness, it harmonizes with Marion Preminger's life: butlers serving hors d'oeuvres in my castle, or movie stars bidding for my attention.
But Marion wasn't happy. She began to drown under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and the numerous affairs between her and her husband shattered their marriage. Depressed and desperate, Marion became suicidal.
Preminger fled from her broken life and returned to Europe -- hoping to rise as a Parisian socialite.
As a little girl, she had heard stories of Albert Schweitzer, a world-renowned theologian and organist who retreated to Africa to serve the poor. One day, she learned that Schweitzer was making a return visit to Europe and would be in Gunsbach in northeastern France. Preminger sought out Dr. Schweitzer and found him playing the organ in the village church.
After dinner at his house, Schweitzer invited Marion to come to Lambarene and join in the work at the African hospital.
The girl who had been raised in a castle, who had been pampered and spoiled, now found herself bathing babies, changing bedpans, and feeding lepers. In her autobiography, All I Want Is Everything, Marion says of Schweitzer: "I thank God he allowed me to become a helper, and in helping, I found everything."
My daydreams and my faith don't always get along. I blissfully dream of how happy I'd be with a bigger house and season tickets to Packers games. I never fantasize about finding fulfillment by changing bedpans.
But faith trumps daydreams. Life isn't about how much we get but how much we give. Jesus had it right: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
(text copyright 2012 by Marty Kaarre)