ColumnistsFr. Brian D’Arcy

Life’s greatest gifts are sometimes right in front of our eyes

Stop wishing for a big mansion - your most precious gifts are right in front of your eyes
Stop wishing for a big mansion - your most precious gifts are right in front of your eyes

Here’s a simple parable of a terribly, tragically sad man. It’s only a story but it could be true.

Read it to discover if you recognise the man. 

Once there was a happy little boy who said to God one day, “O God, I want to live in a big house with a  big porch, two Saint Bernards and a garden in the back. I want to marry a woman who is tall and very  beautiful and kind, with long, black hair and blue eyes, and who plays the guitar and sing in a clear, high voice. 

I want three strong sons to play football with. When they grow up, one will be a great scientist, one will  be a senator and the youngest will  quarter-back the Packers. 

I want to sail vast oceans and climb the highest mountains. I want to drive a red Ferrari and never have to pick up after myself.”

God said, “That sounds like a nice dream. I want you to be happy.”

But one day, the boy hurt his knee playing football – his dream of being an adventurer was over. So he studied marketing and started a medical supply business. He met a pretty woman at school, who was very warm and kind.

She wasn’t glamorous, she wasn’t a musician, but she was a wonderful cook and a talented artist. Because of his work, they lived in the city, in a downtown apartment. 

A small balcony served as the “big porch”; all they had room for was a fluffy cat. They had three daughters (not sons); the loveliest of the three had to use a wheelchair. He made enough money for his family to live comfortably, but he didn’t drive a red Ferrari – and with three daughters, he spent a lot of time picking things up.

Then, one morning, he woke up very sad.

He confided to a friend his disappointment that his wife was not the beautiful, glamorous musician he had dreamed of. His friend tried to reassure him that his wife was kind and generous. But the man wasn’t  listening.

He shared with his wife his disappointment with their apartment instead of the big house he had dreamed of. She reminded him of the comfortable, happy home they had made for their family. But the man wasn’t listening.

He confessed to a priest that he had dreamed of having three strong sons. The priest said that he had been blessed with three beautiful, intelligent and gracious daughters. But the man wasn’t listening.

He went to see a therapist and went on about how he dreamed of being a great adventurer and driving a Ferrari and not having to pick up after himself. The therapist pointed out that the medical supplies he sold saved many lives. But the man wasn’t 
listening. The therapist charged him $200 and sent him home.

He was so sad that he became very sick. Late one night, alone in his hospital room, the man said to God, “Remember  when I was a boy and I told you what I wanted?”    

 “It was a lovely dream,” God said. 

“Why didn’t you give me those things?”

“I could have,” God  replied, “but I wanted to  surprise you with things you didn’t dream of.

“Your life is one of the best packages I’ve put together.”

“Yes,” interrupted the man. “But I thought you  were going to give me what I  wanted.”

“And I thought you were  going to give me what I wanted,” God said. “To be happy with what I had given you.”

And that night the terribly, tragically sad man began to dream a new dream. And he became very happy.

Adapted from Signs of the Times, by Loren Seibold, and used in ‘Connections’.