Tag Archive | Inspirational

What he valued most

 

A young man learns what’s most important in life from the guy next door.
It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls,
career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across
the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy
life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to
spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing
could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The
funeral is Wednesday.” Memories flashed through his mind like an old
newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

“Jack, did you hear me?”
“Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of
him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” Jack said.

“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were
doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of
the fence’ as he put it,” Mom told him.

“I loved that old house he lived in,” Jack said.

“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make
sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said.

“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this
business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me
things he thought were important…Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,”
Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his
hometown. Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no
children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to
see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing
over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house
was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture,
every piece of furniture….Jack stopped suddenly.

“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.

“The box is gone,” he said.

“What box? ” Mom asked.

“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I
must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell
me was ‘the thing I value most,'” Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered
it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had
taken it.

“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said. “I better
get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from
work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required
on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within
the next three days,” the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and
looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was
difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.

“Mr. Harold Belser” it read.

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There
inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack’s hands shook as he read
the note inside.

“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack
Bennett. It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped
to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack
carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold
pocket watch. Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing,
he unlatched the cover.

Inside he found these words engraved: “Jack, Thanks for your time!
Harold Belser.”

“The thing he valued most…was…my time.”

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and
cleared his appointments for the next two days. “Why?” Janet, his
assistant asked.

“I need some time to spend with my son,” he said.

“Oh, by the way, Janet…thanks for your time!”

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Helping hands

 

A mother, wishing to encourage her son’s progress at the piano, bought tickets to a performance by the great Polish pianist Ignace Paderewski. When the evening arrived, they found their seats near the front of the concert hall and eyed the majestic Steinway waiting on the stage. Soon the mother found a friend to talk to, and the boy slipped away.

At eight o’clock, the lights in the auditorium began to dim, the spotlights came on, and only then did they notice the boy – up on the piano bench, innocently picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” His mother gasped in shock and embarassment but, before she could retrieve her son, the master himself appeared on the stage and quickly moved to the keyboard.

He whispered gently to the boy, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side and improvised a delightful obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized with their blended and beautiful music.

In all our lives, we receive helping hands – some we notice, some we don’t. Equally we ourselves have countless opportunites to provide helping hands – sometimes we would like our assistance to be noticed, sometimes we don’t. Little of what we all achieve is without learning from others and without support from others and what we receive we should hand out.

Don’t Hope…Decide..!!

 

While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about — the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.

Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.

First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father say, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, “Me, too, Dad!”

Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.

While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last!” and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. “I love you so much!” They stared at each other’s eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands.

For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn’t possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?

“Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those.” he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face. “Well then, how long have you been away?” I asked. The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile. “Two whole days!”

Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he’d been gone for at least several weeks – if not months. I know my expression betrayed me.

I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!”

The man suddenly stopped smiling.

He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, “Don’t hope, friend… decide!” Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, “God bless!”

– By Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc.
Copyright 1997

Live and Work

 Father was a hardworking man who delivered bread as a living to support his wife and three children. He spent all his evenings after work attending classes, hoping to improve himself so that he could one day find a better paying job. Except for Sundays, Father hardly ate a meal together with his family. He worked and studied very hard because he wanted to provide his family with the best money could buy.

 Whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

 The day came when the examination results were announced. To his joy, Father passed, and with distinctions too! Soon after, he was offered a good job as a senior supervisor which paid handsomely.

 Like a dream come true, Father could now afford to provide his family with life’s little luxuries like nice clothing, fine food and vacation abroad.

However, the family still did not get to see father for most of the week. He continued to work very hard, hoping to be promoted to the position of manager. In fact, to make himself a worthily candidate for the promotion, he enrolled for another course in the Open University.

Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

Father’s hard work paid off and he was promoted. Jubilantly, he decided to hire a maid to relieve his wife from her domestic tasks. He also felt that their three-room flat was no longer big enough; it would be nice for his family to be able to enjoy the facilities and comfort of a condominium. Having experienced the rewards of his hard work many times before, Father resolved to further his studies and work at being promoted again. The family still did not get to see much of him. In fact, sometimes Father had to work on Sundays entertaining clients. Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

As expected, Father’s hard work paid off again and he bought a beautiful condominium overlooking the coast of Singapore. On the first Sunday evening at their new home, Father declared to his family that he decided not to take anymore courses or pursue any more promotions. From then on he was going to devote more time to his family.

Father did not wake up the next day.