Over the course of this past week, wherever I went, the people I spoke to had one thing on their mind. It was on Facebook pages and trending on Twitter. The subject: Powerball! Everyone had Powerball fever.
The rising payout which ultimately reached the enormous sum of 1.6 billion dollars captured everyone’s imagination. It was a beast that fed off of desire and possibility.
Were you feeling Powerball fever?
Either way, you surely heard people talking about what they would do if they won. You heard talk of what people would buy – vacations and cars and houses – oh my. You heard talk of early retirement – no matter what job someone had or how happy or unhappy they had been in it the same job the week before. Yes, Powerball dreams fueled an orgasm of purchase and possibility. The potential was endless.
While I also found myself swimming in the if only dream, there is something else about the Powerball extravaganza that grabbed my attention.
Of course, money is a necessity and can be used for good causes. However, money can also divide and cause people to be selfish and arrogant. “It’s my money. I earned it. I can do what I want with it. Get away from my money.”
Yet, over the course of this past week, I saw money serve as a way of uniting people. The rush for riches inspired groups to form.
In a Facebook group which I’m a part of, people threw money in to buy tickets together. In a synagogue I attend, a man called out after the service was over, “Everybody throw in two dollars for their share in the Powerball tickets.”
The Facebook group went on to have a jovial conversation about the jackpot and the what ifs. The synagogue group walked out smiling and chattering about what ifs.
There were many other groups I heard about being formed in the thought that together they had a better chance to win. Ironically, no one actually expects to win.
So why play? Why not take your 2 dollars or 10 dollars or 20 dollars and use it for something practical? Wouldn’t that make more sense?
It does make more sense, but it ignores a powerful need: HOPE! Despite infinitesimal chances, everyone hopes that they will win. They leave the mundane behind and disappear into sunny days and smiles.
We all need hope.
Consider this: Why are there so many famous quotes about hope? Why do presidential candidates try to make themselves sound like they understand your hopes (and will fulfill them)? Why do so many movies and novels (and even commercial) have the theme of hope?
Hope moves us. Hope inspires us. Hope keeps us going. Everyone goes through challenging times. Some people might even feel it’s the story of their lives. Yet we keep going. We hope for better days. We hope our efforts will be rewarded. We hope that our children will be better off than us.
This week the fever united us. Everyone, no matter their situation or outlook on life, had the fever. It was something we all could talk about. We dreamed together. We hoped together.
So while only a few had winning tickets, every one of us won. We untied, and we had hope.