It is appropriate that I start this new chapter in my life as a writer with a story, a folk tale that has been told for decades, but I found in Chicken Soup for the Soul (3rd edition). It is one of my favorites and has served me well. It has been the first words I uttered to every high school class I have ever taught. It is how I opened professional seminars that I have conducted. I have even used it when I delivered the eulogy at my father's funeral. (He was a jeweler; it was fitting.) Perhaps I am a bit superstitious, but it is where I feel compelled to begin.
One night a group of nomads were preparing to unroll their sleeping mats when suddenly they were surrounded by a great light. They knew that they were in the presence of a celestial being. With great anticipation, they awaited a heavenly message of great importance that they knew must be especially for them.
Finally, the voice spoke. “Gather as many pebbles as you can. Put them in your saddle bags. Tomorrow will find you glad and it will find you sad.”
After having departed, the nomads shared their disappointment and anger with each other. They had expected the revelation of a great universal truth that would enable them to create wealth, health and purpose for the world. But instead they were given the menial task that made no sense to them at all. However, the memory of the brilliance of their visitor caused each one to pick up a few pebbles and deposit them in their saddle bags.
They woke the next morning and while breaking up their camp to continue on their journey, they reached into their saddlebags and discovered that every pebble they had gathered had become a diamond. They were glad they had diamonds; they were sad that they had not gathered more pebbles.
The concept applies to many aspects of life, whether it be knowledge, experiences or chocolate chip cookies. Hindsight often shows us that had we just been patient and industrious, had we just gathered a little more, we would reap greater benefits. It is how I have tried to approach life (especially as it applies to those cookies). And as you read my blog, I hope that you, too, will find some diamonds. And more importantly, I hope you will want more.