A few weeks ago, my family sat in an office speaking with a doctor whose team had saved my son’s life a few months earlier. Since the rescue surgery last summer, Jacob (13) has had a couple of follow-up surgeries and endured quite a bit.  On the good side of a rough few months, Jacob’s surgeon hit us with some wisdom.

“Many doctors and the research community often speak of cure rates.”

“Our team,” he continued, “is most often in the business of healing, not curing.”

My attention turned inward at that moment…what a profound distinction.

Jacob would most certainly heal.  His body would recover.  He will live to pursue a meaningful and purpose filled life.  He need not live in fear.  To say that he is cured, though, would be wrong and would sell short his experiences.

He is not back to normal, as if nothing ever happened.  He will bare scars, emotionally and physically.  In a myriad of ways, his life will be different for his experiences.  He is not cured.

A few days later, my thoughts turned to personal finance.  Maybe the same can be said of us when it comes to our money and how we allocate it. Most of us have made mistakes as we manage our resources. Some of us spend aggressively and prioritize today over saving for tomorrow.  Others of us save more and more each year out of fear and angst for a tomorrow to which we are not entitled.  Regardless of the nature our financial maladies take, we often live with the scars of anxiety and fear and perhaps resentment.  Our relationships suffer.  We try to hide the scars.

Over the last several months, we have encouraged our young man to embrace his challenges and the mountains that he has climbed through the last year.  We have encouraged him that these experiences do not define him; rather the strength and grace with which he has navigated the challenges gives him the foundation for a truly special life.  A testament to his faith, he has begun to embrace the scars.

Curing our money issues is every bit as elusive as curing our physical ailments. We can never unspend those dollars or go back in time to make that family investment that we passed on years before.  Healing, though, may be more accessible if we take time to understand our past and give ourselves an ample dose of grace and forgiveness.  We talk more about financial healing in this post for CURE Childhood cancer.

Ultimately, we may find that we are able to embrace our financial scars.  When we embrace our past, healing may bring us a new freedom and help us find purpose – ultimately, that we are emboldened to experience a new richness in life that has less to do with the size of our balance sheet and more to do with how we use our resources.

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