Puttin’ on the Ritz

As you know from yesterday, I spent the night in Dallas. Although I usually stay in one of my regular hotels, I decided to try out the Ritz – admittedly one of the finest hotels in the Dallas area. I have stayed in Ritz Carleton hotels in other cities, at other times, but never in big “D”. As a seasoned traveler, I like what is familiar when I am on the road, so whenever I get the chance, I usually will choose to stay at a Marriott property – which the Ritz is.

And it was an eye opening experience for me. Don’t get me wrong – the service was great, the people were friendly and all the other things you would expect from a top tier hotel, but for some reason, it just wasn’t me…. Now those of you who know me must be laughing right about now. But it’s the truth. I visited the Club level, normally a $75 upcharge on the room bill – and I was the only one in the place. Then I went to the work-out and pool areas, and once again, I was the only one there. I even walked down to the spa area and talked to a wonderful young lady about their services, but they were completely booked for the evening and since I left early this morning, that idea didn’t materialize either. So I went up to my room, turned on the computer and attended to the contracts and other stuff I had to read before I was done for the night.

Now the hotel is located in the heart of everything; in uptown Dallas. I could have gone out for a walk, but I didn’t. The Ritz is in a great location and I can’t help but tell you that I was impressed with the room furnishings, including the granite tops on the nightstands and credenzas. I also really liked the leather blotter on the desk and the chair that I wrote my post from last evening was very comfortable. There was a new TV in the room and the bathroom floors were marble, as was the shower. The pillows were great and the thread count in the sheets was way up there, I’m sure. Come to think of it, I can’t tell you of one single thing that was wrong with the room; or the hotel. In fact, it was all just right. It just wasn’t me….

Normally, I’m able to quickly tell you why something does or doesn’t appeal to me, but today is different. I think it is because I have changed. My priorities have changed. And even my father-in-law, a guy who has known me for more than half a century, will tell you that I have really changed and am not the person that I was years ago. Now, there was a day when I was so deeply imbedded in the culture of the business world that I would have loved to have stayed at the Ritz. Back in those days, custom suits and shirts, as well as very expensive ties and shoes, were the norm for me. Looking back on it, I think I did that stuff because I was insecure – or because I wanted to impress somebody, or pretend that I would write more business…

I remember that my Mom used to tell Dad that larger men had to spend more on clothes to look good; and sometimes that’s true, but to me, I used it more as an excuse to justify whatever I wanted to purchase or wear. I could tell you that clothes make the man- but I don’t believe that any more, and chances are that you don’t either. I have seen so much hurt and grief that I know there are greater needs that spending a fortune on clothes, or on hotel rooms.

Now I haven’t taken a vow of poverty, mind you. I travel quite a bit and I do try to minimize the inconveniences of life on the road when I can. I will pay more to fly direct to a destination, within reason, and right now I am writing my post at 36,000 feet as I caught an earlier direct flight to Indy so I don’t have to go through Chicago this evening. It also cost me an additional $10 for in-flight internet, but this way I can see Janet and won’t have to write this evening. It just worked out, and American didn’t charge me a change fee for moving up my flight, so I made the switch. I was even able to snag an exit row aisle seat, with nobody next to me, so it’s almost like being in first class.

And as far as other purchases are concerned, Janet will tell you that I’m not exactly a cheap date – but I have become much more aware of what I spend money on. And how I feel; because I am much more genuine and authentic than I used to be. That’s a good thing – no, a great thing. Because the things of the world don’t impress me as much as they used to. I am much more God centered and focused on the things that are truly important.

That being said, I enjoyed my trip to the Ritz, but I don’t think that I will do it again. I am a little more comfortable with something more down to earth. The verse for today reflects God’s perspective on “stuff” and what is important. From Luke 12:27, “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” God is a God of simple pleasures.

My encouragement is to let you know that God wants all of us to focus on what is important to Him. Somehow, I think we know that already. And while God does not frown on money, he certainly does not expect to compete with wealth for our affection. My prayer is that you will be successful and financially able to meet your obligations, with a little left over, but that you will never forsake God for the attainment of earthly riches. I would much rather see you store your stuff for heaven….. Have a great day, and God bless.


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