During this mad rush during the last days of shopping before Christmas...I had a recollection back of a vacation I had in New York city, courtesy of my Mom , who had taken me there for three days of Metropolitan Museum of Art Gawking...and also fancy lunches and dinners and a play.
She also had to shop for some shoes for my daughter's wedding which was coming up in a few months.
We stayed in a very nice hotel, a block off of Fifth avenue, with easy access for me to walk the two miles to the Met daily.
What happened the first day we arrived has always left me with an impression, a deep profound impression.
EXPENSIVE shoes do not a Happy woman make.
We had checked into our hotel, decided to walk around 5th avenue to check out some stores.
Me and my Mom in the hotel lobby about to go to dinner
I had no idea what sights I would see !
My mom has always been a big shopper, she loves it...I only like shopping for antique paintings...clothes and shoes are wayyyy down on my list. I'm more like a man in that respect, get in the store, find what I need, and get out as quickly as possible. I hate even trying on clothes or shoes.
But the women I saw in these stores , made up for my lack of enthusiasm over high-priced designer label items.
These women were spoiled rotten.
They may have been nice, I have no idea.
But I do know they were spoiled rotten, at least materially.
AFFLUENZA was rampant.
We first went into Bergdorf Goodman, a expensive store with multiple, never ending floors of designer fashion. Most of the clerks were dressed better than I was that day, but let me tell you when we hit the shoe department,
I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.
Let me describe it for you...racks and displays of expensive...and I mean EXPENSIVE designer shoes all around. At least 30 or so women milling about, some holding up shoes, some bossing around the shoe salesmen ( and they were ALL men ), and some sitting trying on shoes with boxes stacked beside them.
I walked around while my Mom was looking, picked up a sandal that was cute, may have had 4 pieces of leather total that created it...and it was 850.00 ! And that was one of the cheaper shoes there for sale.
I know I gasped ( which caused me to receive a few raised brows ), put it down, giggled, asked my Mom if she had any idea how expensive these shoes were ?
She says, " Of course, we're in BERGDORF GOODMAN !", like I should know what that meant.
I then glanced around and watched as women who were buying 1200.00, and 2500. a pair shoes, with boxes that were in the 'Yes' pile, I watched how they seemed.
They all seemed unhappy.
I meandered through them and the salesmen, no one was smiling.
Now I am not one of those very friendly , happy always smiling people ( my husband is ). But I would walk around and mildly smile at the women.
NOTHING in return.
Now you may say, " You're in New York. " That's why. No, I met plenty of nice people in New York city.
But not the shoppers, not the women.
We then went to Prada, Chanel, and then to Nordstroms. I told my Mom I was being tortured at that point, I could go see 4 galleries of paintings, but not 4 expensive designer stores.
This was about to kill me.
She on the other hand was just warming up.
At Nordtroms, a larger shoe department was full of women on a full scale mission of over-dressing their feet.
Credit cards would be smoking soon.
I walked around, it was really kind of fun to pick up a shoe , see the exorbitant cost ( do you know how many antique paintings I could buy for that price ? ), and then go pick up another one.
It became a game to me.
Pick up a shoe,
1200. ON SALE
Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Chanel, too may names, mostly Italian shoes.
But still, no happy faces ( except mine being tickled at the prices), no smiles from the women.
Then when I tired of my game of watching these women and the harried salesmen , I told my Mom I couldn't do this anymore.
I left, went back to the hotel but my little Mom ( she was only 5'3 ), kept shopping for another 2 hours.
She was a professional shopper.
The next day as I made my long trek to The Met, straight down Fifth Avenue again.I had on my jeans, Timberland boots, vest and jacket. Not chic for New York standards...but I was happy, going to see my beloved favorite art museum ( The Met). I encountered woman after woman, all ages, mostly 20's-60's, dressed to the nines.
Expensive jewelry, expensive boots, expensive coats, expensive handbags, expensive haircuts , these women were over the top spoiled rotten , or spoiling themselves rotten with THINGS.
No one was smiling.
I never in three days saw any woman smile that was wearing terribly expensive anything.
I entertained myself walking the two miles to the Met and the two miles back by seeing if I could get one of them to smile.
Not a chance.
Not a hint of a smile.
Not a glimmer in an eye of a smile.
It made me realize even more than I ever did, that THINGS, material things do not bring you joy.
They were carrying lots of boxes too.
These lovely, beautiful women...were searching in shoe boxes for happiness, for worth, for attention.
But with each successive purchase, with each pulling out of the credit card, with each brand new bag with boxes full of leather and special shoe protective covers, it only made them happy for a short while...until the emptiness returned and more shoes were needed.
or hair salon trips,
or room make-overs,
My fun, sweet Mom died suddenly of a heart attack...unexpectedly and tragically, a month and a half after we came back from New York. It was the last trip I had with her, she spoiled me with all she could there.
But what brought me the greatest joy was simply her presence.
Simply BEING with the ones you love , brings true joy...plus the knowledge of God loving us with an everlasting, eternal love.
He will never leave you or forsake you.
God gives us people, nature, love...to bring us true, lasting joy.
I hope this season you realize that God longs to bless you everyday, longs to hold and love you...everyday.
And fill your life with TRUE joy.
Merry Christmas & Blessings,
" These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." John 15:11