lottery thoughts

Posted: January 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

I didn’t buy a lottery ticket yesterday, which makes yesterday just like every other day of my life, in that respect.

Everywhere I’ve been over the last few days, I’ve heard about it:  the $800 million jackpot.  My husband told me of hearing about someone who spent $500 on tickets.  Over breakfast we pondered the fact that if that person had put the $500 in a retirement savings account, something good would happen over time, whereas the ramping up to $500 worth of lottery tickets didn’t really change his likelihood of being the winner almost at all.

A couple of different people have told me that if they were to hit that jackpot, they’d mostly just enjoy giving it away.  I wonder if anyone who feels that way ever hits it.  I wonder if they still feel that way, after doing so.

We’ve been doing this thing now enough to have collected up cautionary tales, haven’t we?  Families broken, lives ruined by the giant influx of money and the ways that changes relationships, expectations, and the dynamics of pretty much every conversation and interaction going forward.  I know it’s not all ONLY bad news – my parents know a family who won years back and weren’t ruined by it, mostly because they’ve elected not to change their lifestyle very much with the funds. But even they had to somewhat go into hiding for awhile, to be safe.

Though I’ve never bought a lottery ticket of any kind, I’ve often spent long chunks of time imagining what I would do with the funds, should they somehow fall into my possession.  I had a once-a-week paper route, years back, that took me about 4 hours to complete every Tuesday night; I often spent that time building my dream house in my mind (it was a house in the country, at that point in my life), with the barn out back, and puzzled over how many horses I’d have.  Even with the most extravagant ways I thought of spoiling myself, though, I knew:  once I had paid off my bills and the bills of everyone I loved, once I had set up an education fund for family members, once I had put aside a little stash for the future, it would be necessary to find smart ways to give the rest away as quickly as possible, before it could ruin my life, most probably by ruining my relationships.

As for me, I won’t reach for that dream.  We all have vices that tempt us, don’t we?  I’ve got a long list of them.  I’ve also had multiple addiction issues over my life.  But gambling?  Not on the list.  This is not a well-thought out kind of moral superiority or strength, it’s just simply that gambling doesn’t appeal to me, even a little bit.  The idea of playing feels like I’d just be dropping dollars into the toilet and flushing them.  Or lighting them on fire just to watch them burn.  I’ve been invited to join groups for a “fun night out” at a casino in the past, which only sounds like the ruining of an otherwise perfectly fine day to me.  Years ago I went through a phase of seeing concerts at the casino.  Tickets were pretty cheap, which I’m supposing was a plan to lure people in and get them to play.  There aren’t many things I find more dismal, disappointing, or depressing than walking through a casino, and it always cast a pall for me over what was an otherwise nice date night out.  The whole thing just makes me instantly sad.  It’s not that I think I’m better, it’s just that the whole thing repulses me, like maybe the idea of overeating repulses you.  Gambling ain’t my vice of choice, to put it mildly.

If you’re playing and hoping to win, don’t take this blog as condemnation.  I never come here for that.  And I can’t afford to cast stones, as one who has indulged in an abundance of vices and still loses the struggle in other areas as often as not.  We’re doing the best we know how to do with where we are right now, eh?  My only perfection is in and through Christ – separate from Him, my story is sunk.

Meanwhile, today, may your wildest dreams and mine be about something better than a pile of cash.

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