I don’t want Donald Trump’s money.

I know I’m supposed to want Donald Trump’s money. We’re all supposed to want Trump’s money. He’s the embodiment of the American dream we’re all supposed to aspire to. The fact that he’s got billions and billions of dollars–as he frequently likes to remind us–automatically makes him a human being of value. A human being worthy of our respect and emulation, and possibly our vote. He had the skill and the talent to make all that money. Or at least he had the cunning, and that’s good enough for us. If we don’t respect him, we’re likely to be sour grapes sore losers who envy his wealth.

But I don’t envy Trump’s wealth, especially if it comes with Trump’s fame and publicity. That seems like a heavy burden to carry. Perhaps I’m a weak person, I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with that, and if it meant getting Trump’s personality issues as well…oof.

That doesn’t mean I’m not guilty of jealousy…isn’t everyone? I’m jealous as hell of Jimmy Carter.

I envy Jimmy’s serenity, his calm faith. What is his secret? What causes him to accept a cancer diagnosis with a smile and a remark about how this is going to be a “new adventure”? I mean, hypothetically speaking I can think of death and the afterlife as a new adventure too, but if I were faced with a terminal illness diagnosis in reality, I’m not so sure I could keep my cool like this. I envy how he’s been able to focus his existence on a higher purpose, on what is really meaningful–without allowing himself to be distracted by a gazillion doubts, the way I usually do.

So don’t give me any of Trump’s billions. Can I steal just a little bit of Jimmy Carter’s peace of mind? Can I have just a smidge of his kindness and patience? He is so rich in them already, he won’t miss it, right?

Yeah, I’ll admit it–I’m a sore loser, green-eyed jealousy monster. Call it spiritual sour grapes.

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Another day, another heartwarming Internet meme. This time, it’s the story of over 300 Starbucks customers “paying it forward” and picking up the tab of the next person in line. Nice thing to do? Sure. But it also feels like a distraction. Yes, we can get all mushy about regular people buying each other a coffee. What about some bigger ways of paying it forward?

In the past few years, corporations in this country have made stunning, record-breaking profits. They have made those profits thanks to our very hard work. And they are not paying any of that forward–if anything, they’re doing the opposite. Worker wages, during that same time, have gone down. Likewise, our government representatives are not paying us forward for the votes and loyalty they have received from us. But I suppose that when it comes to the politicians, they have much bigger financial favors to pay back, and those business transactions have nothing to do with us, their constituents.

Americans are truly some of the most generous people I’ve ever met. We also come off looking like chumps sometimes, getting fleeced on every side by powerful interests, and not standing up and speaking out about it like we should. We work harder than any other nation in the world, and are working ever harder all the time, yet getting less and less in return.

Perhaps this serves to reveal the true “Secret” of the Universe, which is that it has a dark sense of humor, and that it does not, in fact, reward kindness with kindness. Good deeds are more likely to be punished, and assholes will always thrive. I guess one answer is to do as most spiritual traditions of the world tell us to do–don’t expect to be compensated for the love you give to others–give it anyway. Unfortunately, I have a handicap–I’m not capable of being a heartless asshole–so I don’t have much choice in the matter.

Turning on the news late at night.  Storms devouring people.  Bombs devouring people.  People devouring animals.  How humane were the methods used to devour the animals, they ask?  Animals devouring animals.  Weeds consuming abandoned cities.  Politicians trying to find creative ways to tear each other to pieces.

We listen to the world and we know that the world is not good–this place created on the basis of devouring–no matter how much we try to tell ourselves that it is.  Perhaps all we have left are temporary moments of kindness in our own lives, at least during those times when we aren’t forced to be predatory as well.  Otherwise, let the world devour itself.