Prison or Palace?

Palace interior

by: Gabe Swan

Life as we know it is fraught with danger. It’s in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and every intersection we drive through on the way to the office. It’s really a matter of perception, though. Are we living in a prison of fear or a palace of abundance?

Statistically speaking, the glass is empty, and we’re all hurtling rapidly towards death. I trust I’m not the only one who has decided not to dwell on that fact, though. Instead I choose to believe that I’m nigh on invincible, indestructible, and destined for greatness. That crazy notion is reinforced by more than just feelings, however; it’s something I pay for every month. It’s something we all pay for to a degree, and perception is the key. Is insurance a bill or an investment in a care-free future?

I have worked in insurance and finance for nearly 10 years now. Experience and Google have taught me that there is a 1:1200 chance that I’ll use my home owner’s policy, a 1:25 chance I’ll use my car insurance, 1:7 chance I’ll use disability insurance, 1:5 chance I’ll use my health insurance, 1:3 chance I’ll use my long term care insurance, and a 1:1 chance I’ll kick the bucket at some point in the future. That is a prison of fear, one that surrounds every person in this country, rich or poor, young or old. It is also a palace of abundance, the walls of which are specifically designed to repel threats to my world, to my family, and to the things that are most important to me in this life.

I am an exceptionally blessed young man. At 33 years old I am healthy, fit, and can generally eat whatever I want without worry. I am a new father, a happy husband, and a home owner. I am a Christian, have great friends, and make time to travel the world. Life doesn’t care about any of that, though. Life simply happens. Walk with me as I share a piece of mine.

Two weeks ago, I walked into my bedroom and noticed the carpet was a little damp. I thought little of it, assuming my daughter Arden had spilled her water cup as she waddled through the house. Later that afternoon, however, damp had become decidedly squishy. Having little time to pound holes in walls looking for leaks, I called my plumber. He found not one, but two pinhole leaks in the attic. I’m told that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but we’ll be over $15,000 in damages when all is said and done. One of my palace walls, however, will keep me from pulling out a second mortgage to pay for repairs. That wall protects one of my prized possessions: my home.

Three months ago, I stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian. The Trailblazer behind me used my car to stop rather than its brakes. While my daughter and I survived, my car didn’t. Yet somehow I never needed to call a cab or take a bus. Again, I had a wall of protection in place to allow me to live free from worry. I rented a car, received a check in the mail to purchase a new one, and continue to have my medical expenses taken care of. All because of a wall that protects a fairly pivotal possession: my car.

Three weeks before the car accident, my daughter Arden had a slight fever. Being self-employed, I was able to stay home with her. Days went by, though, and rather than improving she grew progressively worse. Burning with fever and unable to eat, her doctor admitted her to the hospital. My wife and I spent the next five days watching and praying as our daughter was given breathing treatments every three hours, IV fluids, and continuous testing. The private room, treatments, and meals were exceedingly expensive. But we didn’t have to mortgage the house, drain our retirement accounts, or leave her side for a moment because we have a wall for that as well. That wall protects the intangible: our health.

The last four months of my life have taught me that perception is the key: prison or palace. I may be a statistical anomaly. Not everyone will have so many walls tested so rapidly, but there is one that we know without question will be tested. I thank God for every day I have to live, but I live safe and secure in the knowledge that when He decides to take me, my family will be well-taken care of financially. My palace protects me from fear of the unknown. The only question that remains is this: Does yours?


Gabe Swan is a Marketing Director with PHP Agency, People helping People out of Oxnard, CA. For more information please visit or call 877.788.4366


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