The real worthwhiles
I n one of his poems Lucien Lewis has pointed out one of our most glaring weaknesses—that of overlooking the real worthwhiles of life. He compares us to knights and kings of old, saying, With eyes fixed on some distant star, we seek the Holy Grail afar. And the dross of ore in some far-off land, blinds us to jewels close at hand. I think he is right.
Years ago, when I was a minister in West Texas, Glynn Adsit was a fellow minister and a close and treasured friend of mine. He and I attended church conferences and assemblies together and our families were very close.
Glynn had served as a missionary in China. Once he shared with me the story of how they, along with other Christian missionaries, were chased out of China in the 1940s. For months he was under house arrest. He and his family didn’t know what was going to happen.
Then, one day, soldiers of the People’s Republic came with the surprising news that they were free to leave, to return to America. They were all quite excited.
They were informed that they could take only two hundred pounds with them. That wasn’t such good news. They had been living in the province for years and had acquired a lot of stuff. Now they were told: Only two hundred pounds. Each member of the family had his favorite things. This vase, my books and papers, the typewriter that was brand new, keepsakes and toys—on and on, how would they ever be able to decide?
Glynn said, “We got out the scales and began to choose and weigh. We weighed and subtracted, weighed and subtracted until finally we had it right on the money, two hundred pounds.”
The soldiers impatiently inquired, “Are you ready to go?” “Yes, we are all packed and ready.” “Did you weigh everything?” “Yes, we have weighed everything—two hundred pounds exactly.” Then came the question that shocked them. “Did you weigh the two children?” “The two children?” “Yes, the two children!”
Glynn said, “It was in that moment that we discovered what was of real value. Books, vases, typewriters— they all became trash. Worthless junk!”
What are the real worthwhiles in YOUR life?” Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.