Once upon a time there was a shepherd boy tending a few straggling sheep on the side of a mountain. One day as he cared for his sheep he saw at his feet a beautiful flower – one that was more beautiful than any he had ever seen in his life. He knelt down upon his knees and scooped the flower in his hands and held it close to his eyes, drinking in its beauty. As he held the flower close to his face, suddenly he heard a noise and looked up before him. There he saw a great stone mountain opening up right before his eyes. And as the sun began to shine on the inside of the mountain, he saw the sprinkling of the beautiful gems and precious metals that it contained.
With the flower in his hands, he walked inside. Laying the flower down, he began to gather all the gold and silver and precious gems in his arms. Finally with all that his arms could carry, he turned and began to walk out of that great cavern, and suddenly a voice said to him, “Don’t forget the best.”
Thinking that perhaps he had overlooked some choice piece of treasure, he turned around again and picked up additional pieces of priceless treasure. And with his arms literally overflowing with wealth, he turned to walk back out of the great mountainous vault. And again the voice said, “Don’t forget the best.”
But by this time his arms were filled and he walked on outside, and all of a sudden, the precious metals and stones turned to dust. And he looked around in time to see the great stone mountain closing its doors again. A third time he heard the voice, and this time the voice said, “You forgot the best. For the beautiful flower is the key to the vault of the mountain.”
The boy forgot the best, and lost a treasure. We too can lose a treasure. We get so busy, that in our haste we miss things in life that are just waiting to be enjoyed. As William Feather (1889-1981) said, “Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.”
Remember: “Nothing should be done in haste except catching fleas.”
The high school students were putting on a Christmas play which they themselves had written. In the afternoon before they play’s performance, the students suddenly realized that they had forgotten all about the three kings in the story. The director of the play hit upon the following solution: he would phone three people at random and ask them if they would stand in for the three kings. All they had to do was this: bring along some gift which was especially meaningful to them and then explain in their own words why they had chosen that gift.
The first of the three kings was a fifty-year-old father of five. He worked for the town council. He brought along a pair of crutches and explained: “Some years ago I was in a head-on collision on the highway. I spent many months in the hospital with broken bones. No one was sure that I would ever walk again. But I tried and tried and used these crutches for weeks. During that time my whole attitude changed: I became happy and grateful for every little daily success. I learned to take nothing for granted. I bring these crutches as a symbol of my personal thanks to God.”
The second of the three kings was really a queen, a mother of two children. She brought along a bundle of diapers and baby clothes. She explained, “I was very happy and successful as a graphic artist. Then I got married and the bottom fell out of my life. My husband did not want me to work anymore. All he wanted me to do was stay at home and take care of the house. Then along came the babies, and they needed me. But after they grew up, I was again lost…. until I began to put talents to work in creative art classes for children. I bring along this bundle of baby things to show that it was the little ones, the babies, who brought a new meaning into my life. I feel that by working and helping in their little world I am bettering the whole family of mankind.”
The third king was a young teenager. All he brought along was a blank piece of paper. He laid it before the Infant Jesus in the crib and explained: “I was not even sure whether I should come here or not… My hands are empty; I have nothing to give. In my heart I long for success and a meaning for my life. I am filled with doubts and questions and unrest. My future looks foggy and unclear to me. I lay this empty sheet of paper before you, Child in the crib, and ask you to bring me an answer to some of my problems. I feel empty on the inside, but my heart is open and receptive.”
Source : As told by Willi Hoffsuemmer
Imagine yourself standing before the crib of Life. What are you ready and willing to offer if you were asked to stand in for one of the “three kings”?
A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present “Seven Wonders of the World.” Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:
- Egypt’s Great Pyramids
- Taj Mahal
- Grand Canyon
- Panama Canal
- Empire State Building
- St. Peter’s Basilica
- China’s Great Wall
While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student had not finished her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, “Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.”
The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.” The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ are:
- To See
- To Hear
- To Touch/to feel
- To Taste
- To Smell
- To Laugh
- To Love.”
The room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. The things we overlook as simple and ordinary and that we take for granted are truly wondrous!
Source | originally told by Joy Garrison Wasson. She taught English in Muncie, Indiana for over thirty years. She died on October 15, 2009, after a long illness. She was only 62.
PONDER AND CONSIDER
This is a gentle reminder that the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought by humans. Very often we’re so busy looking for the big picture that we sometimes miss the little pictures that make it up.
- People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering. [Variant: Men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty billows of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, and pass themselves by.] | Augustine of Hippo, Confessions