Updated: Apr 21
There is a word I have fallen in love with over these past two years- Opulence.
Defined by Webster’s as great wealth or luxuriousness. Synonymous with words like richness, luxury, splendor, magnificence, grandeur, splendidness, classiness, wealth, affluence, wealthiness, and prosperity.
In a recent social media post I remarked about being seen as a rich white lady by many in my community. A fellow rich white lady commented, “rich huh? Young Living must being doing well for you!”. At first I rolled my eyes and shrugged it off as typical behavior of those who don’t know how truly wealthy they are.
The comment made me sad for this person, that she didn’t understand opulence as I have grown to understand and appreciate it. How do I know she didn’t understand it? Because she doesn’t see herself as a rich wealthy, affluent, prosperous or, as evidenced by her comment, classy. Nor would she dare admit it even if she did see herself that way. Something I like to call, white guilt, but that is not the topic at hand.
Opulence has such a richness to it, that is dripping with luxury. If you create an opulent environment for yourself, everything is high quality and has high standards.
Now, lest you think to yourself I must only shop at Tiffany’s (not yet), or purchase all my furnishings at Pompanoosuc Mills or Restoration Hardware, (not quite my taste), opulence isn’t defined necessarily by the price tag. It’s an attitude of mind, a feeling, perhaps in the language you use. It may have something to do with the cost of a thing, but this isn’t what solely defines opulence. You can be opulent in speech, in the way you carry yourself in a room full of people or even, on creating a social media post. You can be opulent in what you allow yourself to watch or listen to. Single men can be opulent by what types of women they think of, look at and hope for. Women, we can be opulent by the way we speak of men, how we treat them, no matter how we have been treated in the past. Opulence, it is an art.
Opulence is truly walking as Jesus did in a culture that is completely riddled with scarcity, restraint, simplicity, and poverty. These are the very opposite of opulence.
Opulence is excellence in everything- not doing life half way, slapping something together or throwing a meal in the microwave. It’s an hour long pot of vegan chili made to such perfection that even those most committed to meat will requires seconds. I wish I could offer the recipe, alas, it's in my head. Opulence.
Perhaps a diffuser combination~ such as several drops of Rose married with Bergamot and Geranium because you know the mood in the room could use a stout amount of harmony and balance. Opulence in this case is not hoarding a $190 bottle of essential oil, and only sniffing the cap for fear of it running out, but rather, using it as you have need, as you might Lemon or Peppermint.
At this point it’s only fair to share another favorite word as of late~ Stewardship. Many, especially in the Western Christian culture use this word when speaking to how we should spend money, or how to not spend it. When in reality it means the job of supervising or taking care of something. Synonymous with words such as administration, care, charge, conduct, control, direction, governance, guidance, handling, management, operation, oversight, regulation, running, supervision.
So while many think that using 5 drops of Rose oil in a diffuser or purchasing $16 Vegan tortellini for dinner isn’t being a good steward of finances, that’s not entirely accurate and can lend itself to a more scarce, simple, restrained and poor state of mind.
Opulence has woven it’s luxurious way throughout the fabric of our home in many tiny ways, which has created a feeling of a haven for us all. From eating on antique China plates for every meal, including snacks, to listening to coffee table jazz while cooking dinner and sipping Kombucha, or even to the little crystal bowls sitting on my daughters’s dressing filled with their lipsticks and jewelry. Did I mention the first and last example were purchases of an estate sale, for a total of $25 China, 3 crystal bowls, crystal platter and a sack of lightbulbs? See? Opulence isn’t about a price tag.
If we claim to live as Jesus did and do the things that Jesus did, we might want to begin with thinking in terms of Opulence. Wasn’t it Jesus who chastised the Pharisees for NOT anointing Him with oil and washing His feet, after they chastised Him for allow such a waste (poor stewardship) of costly perfume? Wasn’t it Jesus that offered to feed over 5,000 people, only to have leftovers? And, pardon me, but wasn’t it Jesus who made His first miracle a, ahem, wine run?
All throughout the pages of scripture we see opulence.
Why do I love this word so much? Because it reminds me of the One who first showed such extravagant abundance of opulence in His own earthly life and teaches me to do the same. Because I want people I meet and work with to feel every bit as cared for as I have by Him. And most of all, because Opulence is what He tells us we are worth. And that my friends, is everything.