Yours For A
- © Steven G. O'Dell Nov. 2005
The small boy stood eagerly on his porch, watching the deliveryman bring the large crate that he had wished for. Inside, he knew, would be all the wonderful things he had been told of and had come to desire so deeply. He opened the crate excitedly. It was so large. Out spilled all the wonderfully ornate, shiny baubles he expected. His eyes grew wide and he 'ooh-ed' and 'ah-ed' in complete amazement. These were all his and his alone, to do with as he pleased. Now they were all within his reach and his life could begin in earnest.
As he grew, the young man fondled and polished all the shiny accoutrements that he had wanted so early in his life. He noticed how some seemed to have lost their sheen with age. Others appeared to be cracked and nearly broken, but he was a prideful young man and nothing would take these things from him or demean them in any way while he still lived and breathed. They were still his and his alone.
The man grew older still. He was bitter now. None of what he had wished for in his life seemed of any consequence. Old habits die hard, however, and the tarnished baubles were still his and he still clung to them jealously, all the while hating them deeply.
The time came when the old man died and all of his worldly belongings were left behind to be sold cheaply to the next covetous young man who desired to accumulate all the world had to offer him. What the dead man took with him was a simple gravestone that marked his final resting place, soon to be forgotten by all but the grounds keeper.
Another small boy stood wide-eyed on his front porch. His box, too, had arrived. His mother and father handed it gently, almost reverently, to him. They took the time to explain the proper use of all the contents within his wonderful gift box and then bade him open it. With a sense of wonder and awe he carefully began to peel the ribbon from the small container that sat easily within one small hand. He could scarcely conceal his smile, so excited was he to be finally getting what he had been taught to so deeply desire above all else. The lid lifted away, the young man stepped into the full sunlight where he could more easily investigate the contents and to his great surprise, the light that was caught and reflected from the object within was nearly as bright as the sun itself. He shielded his eyes and squinted against the gleam of what appeared to be a beautiful cut diamond. His parents corrected him and explained that it was indeed a rare jewel, but no earthly diamond at all. It was far more valuable than anything so common as a diamond. The boy smiled, hugged his parents and promised to always cherish the gift throughout his life.
The young man had kept his promise and found that as he shared the beauty of his wonderful gift, an amazing thing happened-the shine seemed to get even more brilliant than before and would cast its light to greater and greater distances around him. All who came within the influence of his precious gift were touched and improved in some strange way. What tremendous delight this brought to the young man and all who knew him.
An old man had lived a long and fruitful life. He smiled as he thought back on all that had meant so much to him in this world. It seemed that everything he cherished most could not be bought with money or traded for insignificant worldly goods. What he most treasured were the moments of love and friendship with family and acquaintances. The memories of a lifetime graced the pages of his mind in the last few hours of his mortality, but before he went, he called to his side all of his children and grandchildren and with a shaking hand held aloft the same small box that his mother and father had delivered to him so many years ago. With wide eyes and awe-opened mouths, the family received from his lips the story that his parents had told him in his childhood. When he passed, they were sad to see him go, but knew that to a wonderful and very real extent he remained with them as much as ever. When he passed he took with him no more than the first man had taken. However, far more than the grounds keeper took notice of his passing. His name continued to be spoken within his town and in an ever-broadening circle, for generations thereafter.
The two men came into this life with the same opportunities. Neither had the advantage over the other, except in one thing. What made the difference? The teacher. The first young boy was turned loose without guidance to desire what the world would teach him were things to be prized above all else. He found later in his life that these were but empty and meaningless things that brought no comfort to him or to anyone else that he came in contact with. The second boy, so similar to the first, was taught that what he held was the power to make the world around him a better place, if he would but do so. He was taught that the power he wielded could be used for good or for evil and that it must be used wisely or it would destroy him and all who came into contact with it. He was shown that as he used wisdom, the gift would reach out to enlighten and guide the lives of others, who in turn would enlighten then more lives beyond theirs. So great was the love of this young boy for his first teachers that he carried that gift with reverence all his life, simply to honor their names with each use. And so great was the joy that it brought, he could not help but pass it on to those who had come to love him for his shining example of beauty and benevolence.
You see, we are all placed in this world with the self-same promise-that "nothing shall be withheld from them which they shall imagine to do". We hold within our hands the same gift, though to some it may appear large and to others small. Some trade it for baubles and beads that become mere trash and bring no lasting value to anyone, even their owners. Others learn the priorities of life and become a shining city on a hill, where none can hide the light from all who would draw near and truly see for the first time. You have that power to choose what you value most in life. You also have the power to become a revered teacher in your own right--to anyone you may touch in this life. The choice is yours. What do you wish?
Yours For A