Opening the box I found seven or eight rocks and plenty of dirt. Summoning Drew to the kitchen, I asked, “What in the world are these rocks doing in your lunch box?”
“Rocks,” he cried in disbelief! “Those aren’t rocks! They are gems.”
Realizing I had completely misunderstood the importance of his lunch box contents, I cautiously continued, “Oh, and where did these gems come from?”
“I found them on the playground. Isn’t that amazing? Our playground has lots of gems.” And sure enough, over the course of the next two years, I became acquainted with what must have been most of the rocks, oops, I mean gems, on his school playground.
Isn’t it wonderful that treasures, true gems, are so easily found when you are 6 or 7 years old? No matter where you look there are plenty of treasures to be found, like (1) busy ants on the sidewalk, (2) four-leaf clovers, (3) mud puddles after a good rain, (4) secrets from a friend that only you know, (5) trees with plenty of strong branches to climb, (6) cookies with milk, (7) dandelions to make beautiful necklaces, (8) delightful books with bright pictures — of course this list is endless for the wide-eyed child.
What a shame it is that as we grow up and become adults that many of these wonderful treasures in life pass by barely noticed, if noticed at all. Rather, we become increasingly consumed with supposedly more important treasures that come at lofty prices: (1) flashy cars, (2) bigger homes, (3) exotic vacations, (4) closets full of the finest fashions, (5) the latest in computer technology, (6) expensive pets, (7) numerous trips to the mall for more than we need, (8) dinners at the best restaurants — of course this list is also endless for the desires of the insatiable adult.
There is nothing inherently wrong with any of the adult items mentioned above. But it is rather sad when we willingly spend ourselves into insurmountable debt buying what we cannot afford, hoping to find the right treasure that will finally and lastingly bring us genuine happiness.
Genuine happiness is a byproduct of a life that appreciates and celebrates the treasures that come our way each and every day. I learned this lesson from a lady who learned this lesson only in the final weeks of her life as she lay in bed dying of cancer. Her entire life she suffered an unquenchable thirst. She had accumulated plenty of things, but nothing ever satisfied her.
One afternoon as we sat and talked she told me that before her cancer she had always hated sparrows. “They’re messy, noisy, and much too common.”
Lying in bed, day after day, one of these “messy, noisy, and much too common” sparrows started visiting her outside her window. Same time every day the little sparrow would come, sit on her windowsill, peck on the glass.
“It wasn’t long before I could hardly wait for that little sparrow’s arrival each afternoon. I believe that God sent me the sparrow to teach me what is really important in life. It’s taken all this sickness to realize that my thirst in life can only be quenched through the simple appreciation of life’s simple pleasures.”
We don’t have to become sick to realize our thirst can be satisfied through an appreciation of the treasures that surround us every day: (1) a walk with a friend, (2) a glorious sunset on a cool fall evening, (3) the first flowers of spring, (4) the hug of a young child, (5) reading an inspiring book, (6) the smell of coffee in the morning, (7) the giggles of silly teenage girls, (8) a rainbow after a spring rain — of course this list, too, is also endless.
Looking for real gems in life? Know that they are everywhere. Capture a few today. You might even put them in your lunch box and share with a friend.