October 5, 2007

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Junk mail can offer worthwhile reflections

Shirley Vogler MeisterPeople with computers know how annoying it is to receive superfluous messages, especially when it’s “junk mail.”

However, many non-computer-users are also irked by “junk” in snail-mail so they have some idea of what computer users face when receiving an abundance of unnecessary mail.

Perhaps more technologically-gifted persons than I am have foolproof ways to reduce what is often referred to as “spam.”

I’m not looking for that because, now and then, I also receive “spam” that is very worthwhile.

I share one here. This came from a Catholic friend in Indianapolis, who sends only what she knows I will appreciate.

What follows is the message in that e-mail. As with many such messages “making the rounds” electronically, the man who speaks is not identified. Nor do we learn what type of seminar he is leading. However, that doesn’t matter since the message is what’s important:

“A well-known speaker started his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. He asked, ‘Who would like this $20?’ Hands went up. He said, ‘I am going to give this $20 to one of you, but first let me do this.’ He crumpled the $20 bill then asked, ‘Who still wants it?’ No one lowered their hands. He added, ‘What if I do this?’ He dropped it on the ground and began to grind it into the floor with his shoe.

“He picked it up, crumpled and dirty, and asked, ‘Now who still wants it?’ Again the hands went up. ‘My friends, we have learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.

“ ‘Many times in our lives we are dropped, crumpled and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless, but no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.

“ ‘Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who do love you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by who we are and whose we are. You are special. Don’t ever forget it.’ ”

The message then recommended that we count our blessings, not our problems, and remember that, “Amateurs built the ark and professionals built the Titanic,” and that, “If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it.”

These might be clichés, but they’re the truth. I am glad that I didn’t hit the delete key when this “spam” came in. If I had, you would not be reading this now.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

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