I’VE BEEN THINKING
Carol Goodman Heizer is an author who moved to Hood County from Louisville, Kentucky in 2019. She has had short stories and articles published in six editions of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. Her column for the Hood County News will appear every two weeks. She was a public school teacher for 17 years, earlier in her professional career.
The story is told of three horsemen riding through the desert one night. They came to a dry riverbed and were startled to hear a voice from the darkness warning, “Halt!”
The men obeyed the command, and the voice continued, “You have done as I commanded. Now get off your horses, pick up a handful of pebbles, put them in your pockets, remount your horses, and continue on your journey. Since you have done as I commanded, you will be both glad and sad that you obeyed me.”
The horsemen did not understand what had happened, but they rode through the night. In the early morning light, the riders reached into their pockets and discovered that a miracle had taken place. The pebbles in their pockets had transformed into magnificently beautiful diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and other precious stones.
They remembered the warning – that they would be both glad and sorry. They were truly glad they had taken the pebbles … and truly sad they had not taken more.
Why did the travelers not take more pebbles? Was it because they were told to do so and resented having to do something they perhaps did not want to do? Was it because they did not understand the full meaning of the command and therefore were not willing to give their full cooperation? Was it because they felt inconvenienced by having their time intruded upon and resented such an invasion of their lives?
Whatever the reason, we can be sure of one fact. All the horsemen, although grateful for the pebbles they had taken, regretted not having taken more. For had they taken more, they would have increased their wealth.
But who would have anticipated the pebbles turning to gems? How could they have known? But is not life like that, also? Do we not miss many blessings that could be ours because they come from unexpected places?
Perhaps a business colleague or friend or loved one, through a poor choice of words, tells us to do something rather than asks us. And we, in our childish defiance, balk at the request. We do it not because it is so outrageous or unreasonable or impractical. We balk because the proper words were not spoken. It is the classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
We cannot differentiate between the fact and the phrase, and therefore we refuse both. For the want of a proper word, a blessing was missed. Perhaps we missed the enjoyment of a task well done or the thrill of a project completed.
Perhaps a request is made of us, and we do not understand the underlying reasons behind the request. We usually insist upon knowing the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when and why) of the situation, or we do not want to be involved in the matter. How many modern-day conveniences would we be living without if the inventors would have insisted upon knowing all the facts before their achievements were complete!
Could we have missed the untold blessing of knowing we had helped another individual in need or being part of another’s accomplishments who only needed help in achieving them?
Could we have missed the indescribable pleasure of watching our children discover new and fascinating things in the world around them because we were too interested in our own activities? Or missed the enjoyable trip down memory lane as we busily pushed aside the elderly ones in our life because we were too busy to take the stroll with them?
We must always remember that we are to have a part of the work if we are to have a part in the blessing. We must not only count our blessings, but we must consider their source.
Our pebbles can become precious stones to us, also!