There has been frequent discussion the past couple of weeks concerning the Powerball and winning the lottery. As of today, the Powerball is up to $1.5 billion with a cash payout of $930 million. That amount of money is unfathomable to me, but it has led people to dream of riches and the fortunes that can only be found amongst royals, geniuses and celebrities.
On my way to work, I found myself daydreaming about winning the lottery myself. I would finally be able to fund The By Grace Foundation, could offer microloans to women in the third world, help improve literacy rates to the lower classes in India, donate supplies to underprivileged schools, and invest in medical research for cancer, amputees, and Multiple Sclerosis! I could see more of the world and buy a house and afford a wedding! The longer I sat in traffic, the more appealing winning the lottery sounded. But somewhere between funding the newest chemotherapy drug and traveling through Italian vineyards, I realized I didn’t need to win the Powerball to win the lottery. In so many ways, I have won the lottery of life.
I was born into an incredible family. My mother is one of the strongest women I know. She is passionate, creative, goal-oriented, and fierce. She always wanted to be a mom, and I get to be her daughter. My father has always worked hard to provide for our family, is brilliant, and was always in the front row of our science fairs/ musicals/ soccer games. My sisters are hysterical, loyal, kind, and wise. I won the family lottery. My boyfriend is the greatest man I have even known; he is thoughtful, genuine, empathetic, charismatic, and when I am around him I feel like I am home. I won the significant other lottery. I love what I do every day; I get to work with clothes and shoes, buyers and designers, fabrics and patterns. And the work that I do every day manages to pay my bills each month, with a little bit left over to invest in this amazing dream called By Grace. I won the job lottery. I could go on for days, but you get the idea. My lottery is probably different than yours, however if you are reading this in America, on a computer or a smartphone, in a warm building, wearing shoes, you probably won a few lotteries of your own.
Which took my daydreaming in a different direction…winning the lottery in Ghana would be completely different than winning the lottery in America. I try to imagine what those we’ve met would purchase. Food and better lodging seems like it would top the list for many. There wouldn’t be talks of surf trips on private islands, but of enough nourishment to feel full every day and night. I also believe there would be significantly more sharing of the wealth in the Ghanaian communities lottery win. There is an incredible sense of community, even amongst strangers in the small villages. They truly believe that what is theirs is also their family and friends’ and anyone else who may be in need.
In addition to the basics, I think the Ghanaians would purchase entertainment. Not the latest iPad or Xbox, but books, music, and simple toys. One afternoon outside the workshop where our dresses are sewn, three little girls were playing together. They were encircled around something and seemed quite content. When I went over to see what they were playing with, they smiled and showed me an empty soda can and a used flip-flop. That was it. Those were their toys. Winning the lottery would allow small children to play with something more than trash.
The chances of any of us winning the lottery are slim (about 1 in 292 million), but somewhere amongst all the dreaming of possibilities, I found gratitude for the many lotteries I have already won and have also identified areas where I should be sharing my wealth with those who have even less than I. (But I’m still totally keeping my fingers crossed for that jackpot… which I’d probably have a better chance of winning if I knew how to play…)
Until next time,