What a Life!
By Father Willie Todd
A five-year-old girl named Jenny was waiting with her mother at a checkout counter. She suddenly noticed some shiny white pearls in a foil box. “Oh, Mommy, please. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?”
The mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl. “$6.95, that’s almost $7.00. If you really want them, I’ll give you some extra chores and in no time you can save enough money to buy them.”
When Jenny got home, she did more than her share of chores. She even went to her neighbor and asked if she could weed her garden. At last she had enough money to buy the necklace. Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel all grown up. She wore them everywhere – to church, to kindergarten, even to bed.
Jenny had a very loving dad who at bedtime would come upstairs to read her a story. One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?” “Oh yes, Daddy, you know that I love you.”
“Then give me your pearls.” “Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. You can have Princess, my white horse with the pink tail. She’s my very favorite.”
“That’s okay, Honey, Daddy loves you.” Then he kissed her good night.
About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s dad asked again, “Do you love me?”
“Daddy, you know I love you.” “Then give me your pearls.” “Oh Daddy, not my pearls, but you can have my baby doll, the one I got for my birthday.”
“That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you. Daddy loves you.” Then he kissed her good night.
The next night when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one a tear rolled down her cheek. “What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?” Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted her hand up to her daddy. When she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she said,
“Here, Daddy, this is for you.”
With tears in his own eyes, Jenny’s dad reached out with one hand to take the dime store necklace, and with the other hand, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had been waiting for her to give up the dime store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.
That’s the way it is with our Heavenly Father. God is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives, so that he can give us beautiful treasures. God will never take away something without giving us something better in its place.
Sometimes, we feel like Jenny. Conflicts tear up our lives. We want to do two things simultaneously; or we try to love two people equally; or we try to put all of our energy into two projects. We have a hard time letting go of one thing so we can achieve another.
We Christians physically live here on earth but we know that our real home is in heaven. How are we supposed to live in two places? The answer is simple. We cannot live in two places. We cannot fully be in this world and simultaneously be in the next world. We will always experience some dissatisfaction and restlessness in this life.
How do we live with this dissatisfaction and restlessness?
The first thing we have to do is to accept the fact that no thing or person will ever satisfy all our needs. If we could only accept that fact, it would make all of us more compassionate, kinder, and gentler with one another and with ourselves. No thing or person is perfect.
Remember the serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”