Dear International Friend,
Here is a story I wrote for a friend,
“Two men, one a poor shepherd, the other a wealthy merchant hiked a dusty road and met at a crossroads. There for some miles their paths moved along the same way. While on this road the poor shepherd spotted a glint in the sun and upon examination found two incredible jewels, diamonds lost from an aristocrat's coach long ago and now forgotten.
The shepherd recovered the gems and watched them glint in the sun. Not knowing their incredible value he shared one of these precious stones with the merchant. Each pocketed their gift of fate and proceeded on their way. Not long after, their paths parted and the merchant headed towards the large city where he lived. He was already beginning to worry.
Having some knowledge of diamonds this man knew that he was now the wealthiest person in these lands. This stone was so huge, so rare, that it was worth more than the entire city's wealth combined.
His worries grew as he strode closer to town. “How can I explain this sudden wealth,” he thought. “What if someone robs me? How will I keep the diamond safe? Where should I invest my funds?”
The closer he came to the city the greater his worries and the heavier his steps.
“Which castles in the area should I buy” he thought? “Who shall I employee to be my servants?” “How will I pass this wealth to my sons? What if they fight over the estate? How do I make sure they will invest and maintain my kingdom wisely?”
His worries grew and grew so by the time the merchant reached the city walls he was in a nervous fit. He began to think about tax, duties and all the inequities the crown would place upon him. “What a burden”, he sighed feeling even more weighted down. “The cost and effort of retaining attorneys and accountants and the work I'll have to do with the money lenders. The time and the burdens.”
Such was this merchant's state by this time that when the guards at the gate stopped him for routine questioning, his heart fluttered so wildly it suddenly stopped. The merchant gasped and collapsed dying as his mind whirled his last thoughts. “What will happen to my diamond. How will my sons ever know? What if these guards rob me. What if the boys don't realize the value. Why have I been damned with this burden.” Then he was gone.
The shepherd, on the other hand, had left the road and traveled through green, wild paths high into pastures where he kept his flock. He stopped often not thinking of his gem in any commercial way. He just saw the gleam and glitter and watched the sun sparkle and jump like fire through the fine cut prisms of the stone. He laughed in delight at the beauty of this glorious light. “God I do not understand why you gift me this wonderful way, but I accept it with delight”. He never forgot for the rest of his long life to stop at least once a day and marvel at this rare beauty and to give thanks for this gift of light.
One day after many happy years as the shepherd hiked a steep path, he felt thunder in his chest and knew that his time had come. He tumbled into soft grass looking skywards and smiled as he pulled his gem from its pouch. Looking one last time at its joyous dance of sparkling sunshine, his last thoughts were to God “thanks my Lord for giving me this precious gift of beauty. I have been truly blessed!”
We are! Until next message.