It happened a few years ago when McDonalds was playing their $2,000,000 Monopoly game. Wes went to lunch there and along with his hamburger and fries, received the monopoly piece “Boardwalk”. Unfortunately he did not read the rules of the game at the time, but assuming the piece could have some value, he tucked it into his pocket and later that night placed it on the shelf in his closet.
A couple weeks later he went to eat at the same McDonalds and this time received the piece, “Park Place”. Knowing that having both “Boardwalk” and “Park Place” was a very good thing in the real game, he asked at the counter for the rules to see if he had won anything. It was then he read that although there were many “Park Place” pieces in circulation, there was only one “Boardwalk” and anyone who had both had beat the 700,000,000 to 1 odds and was the grand winner of $2,000,000!!
Excitedly he called home telling me to find the piece he had put on the closet shelf. I searched but could not find anything. He hurried home and searched himself, but with the same results. So he searched his desk—as perhaps he had moved it to there.
And then he remembered that only a few days before, he had noticed his closet shelf was getting a bit cluttered, and forgetting about the Monopoly piece, he gathered up all the little papers and threw them away. . .
into the garbage
to be lost
In one last effort to locate the game piece, he drove out to the city dump--hoping that somehow he would recognize our little pile of refuse in the massive piles and that miraculously the teeny tiny piece of paper would still be intact, and sitting on the top of the pile just waiting for its rightful owner to claim it.
We talked a lot in the next few days about what we would have done had things turned out differently. We could buy a new house, travel the world, pay for all of our kids to get a college education. . .
And then we comforted ourselves with the thought that if we moved we would be moving away from friends and if we stayed in our modest neighborhood with that kind of money, none of our neighbors would like us.
Eventually our disappointment lessened and we moved on, no longer thinking about the day Wes held all that money in his hands and carelessly threw it away.
The interesting thing to me is that since that time, Wes’ job position changed and we have been able to do all the things we dreamed that day of doing—but with money he earned by working. And although two million dollars is a lot and could be put to good use in many wonderful ways, there are many things in this life I value far more than any amount of money---my family, my health and my religious faith for starters. And yet there are probably many times I take them all for granted—tossing them on the proverbial closet shelf without a thought to their value. It is only when tragedy strikes or I get sick that I remember how much they mean to me.
So, what I have learned from this experience is-- sometimes we toss items or people aside without recognizing their true worth and sometimes we go to great extremes—even being willing to tread through garbage—in pursuit of worldly wealth. The trick is to be able to discern what really matters and hold on to it tight.
As that is what brings the greatest . . . joy to our journey.