• Leiah Bowden

I’ve Come into Four Trillion Dollars

Updated: Oct 31, 2019

Or maybe that’s not enough. Maybe the affirmation should be: “I’ve come into enough money to solve all the world’s problems and establish a lasting perfect balance for all life on this planet.”


But that begs a Faustian problem, so I’ve decided on the four trillion American dollars.


One of my favorite pastimes is fantasizing what I would do if I won — or, since I never buy lottery tickets, somehow just come into — a huge amount of money.  After all, the Universe can send me its bounty in any way it likes.


Here’s the way it usually goes:

  1. Of course I would take care of my kids’ and grandchild’s needs, my long-term care plans, yada yada yada.

  2. Figure out where we could all live without getting into each other’s hair but be close enough so I wouldn’t have to drive hours to be with them.

  3. Take my 60 best friends someplace for a vacation.

  4. Give my 20 best friends millions of dollars.

  5.  Hire a team of lawyers and financial managers who already work with the wealthiest philanthropists on the planet to help me distribute the bulk of my windfall to where it will do the most good.

  6. Of course, I’d change my email, go dark so I could be less accessible to all the sharks crazed by the blood smell of all my new money.

  7. And then I have fun thinking about the flowering of good, the joy of children who no longer suffer from the world’s greed and callousness, the forests that would be restored, etc, etc, etc.

But today’s journey lifted me up on a whole ‘nother level.  I’d watched a movie last night in which Terence Stamp, playing a nasty rich guy who’s about to get murdered, says something about how everyone wants his 70 million dollars.


So I started at 70 million and thought I should aim higher than that. I went to a billion, and that sounded paltry.


Sidebar: one of the most influential stories I have ever read is “Bontshe Shvayg” (Bontshe the Silent) by Isaac Loeb Peretz, a late 19th/early 20th century Yiddish writer who advocated for the advancement of Europe’s downtrodden Jews.

As summarized here, “Bontshe is a victim of poverty and degradation who never complains about his miserable lot in life, so that when he dies he goes straight to heaven, greeted by a chorus of angels, and is invited by the highest judge of the heavenly tribunal to ask for anything he wants as his just reward.

And what is Bontshe’s greatest wish? “What I’d like most of all,” says Bontshe, “is a warm roll with fresh butter every morning.”

Hearing this, the judges and the angels hang their heads in shame, while the prosecutor breaks out in contemptuous laughter.”


Enter Marianne Williamson’s famous: ““Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. …”


I and others like me who strive and pray for the healing of the world, need lots and lots of what it takes to bring sweeping, lasting, root-nourishing changes. I realize that I want to talk to Ashton Kutcher, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, and JK Rowling for advice. I see myself as part of that mythic group of tycoons who meet once a year to decide where their money should go to provide the benefit worldwide, and I don’t feel like a newcomer in their midst, because I know there is work to be done and I’m on the team.


We need all the money it takes to create safety, nourishment, and encouragement for every child on this planet. This is what I will do when I get my four trillion dollars:


  1. Go to my son’s house immediately and tell him and my daughter-in-law after Calla is in bed. I can’t tell them over the phone or via email. For the first time in my life, I become concerned with privacy.

  2. Call my friend, Melynda, and say, “I’ve got to talk to you. I’m flying to wherever you are tomorrow.” Because she understands power, I hire her to be smart for me.

  3. Hire that aforementioned firm to hide me and my money. I mean, what do I do with a check for four trillion dollars? What are the implications for the bank into which I deposit it? Could the Redwood Credit Union handle all that?

  4.  Give millions to my brother, each of my first cousins and friends, my congregation and a few favorite charities right off the bat.  Of course I invite my kids to quit their jobs and help me create healing throughout the world or do whatever they want.

  5. Find out how I should evaluate the best ways to give away most of the money to save the world most securely and then give it away. My immediate priorities are: ensuring a Democratic win in the White House and Senate. I call my favorite Congressperson, an old friend, and take him out to lunch. I pass him a note that I tell him he has to read under the table so no hidden cameras can read it. It says: “I just won four trillion dollars. Will you work with me to help it do good in the United States?”

  6. getting all children everywhere out of danger and into permanent safety in loving arms.

  7. funding systems: education systems worldwide based on compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, creativity and appreciation

  8. access to abundant clean water and healthy soil

  9. in the Americas, somehow engage hate groups and drug lords and help them heal, using every possible intervention. I have a vision of a temporary (maybe three generations in duration) string of beautiful, spa-like respite, rehabilitation and engagement centers along the southern border in which all those seeking entry in to the United States are welcome, offered educational  and vocational opportunities, and are then offered citizenship.

  10. supporting peace initiatives and activities in the Middle East until there is solid cooperation and unity of humanitarian goals and processes

And I realize that what I want to do is very simple and pervasive: to ensure that all over this Earth, compassion is the underlying force in all relationships.




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