Sunday, September 7, 2008
Painted with a Different Brush
One man who loved the color yellow had yellow carpet, yellow furniture, yellow drapes, yellow walls and even yellow appliances in his yellow kitchen. He slept in a yellow bed with yellow covers and wore yellow pajamas. He got sick. You guessed it ... yellow jaundice.
He called a doctor who came to his apartment building. The manager told him he'd have no trouble finding the right one. "You just go down the hall and come to a yellow door," he said. "That's the one."
In a few moments the doctor was back. The apartment manager asked, "Were you able to help him?"
The doctor replied, "Help him! I couldn't even FIND him!"
I suppose it's not always a good idea to blend too closely with your surroundings. And that holds true for the way we think and behave, too. We may not always want to be like everyone else around us. I admire those people willing to stand out from the crowd.
People like a Miami mother who came to police and spilled out cash and coins totaling $19.53. Her young son added another 85 cents to the little pile. It turns out that, after two days, they were the only people to return money scooped up from an armored truck that toppled on an overpass and rained more than half a million dollars onto the street below. Police said that witnesses reported seeing rush-hour commuters loading money into their cars and driving off while the armored truck employees lay bleeding. Police had pleaded with residents to return the money, but got nothing but laughter until a mother and a boy came in.
In a world that seemed to think alike, two people had a different idea. They refused to blend in with those around them. It was as if they were painted with a different brush. "I have children and I needed to set a good example," said the mother of six, who could have used a little extra cash to supplement her low retail store wage.
Most people talk about values and what they believe to be right and wrong. But I've noticed that our REAL values can be seen by the way we live. It is the things we do and the choices we make that show what we truly believe.
An 11-year-old boy who turned in 85 cents because he felt "it was wrong for me to keep anything" stood out from the crowd. And a mother who wanted to teach her children to do the right thing set an example they will never forget. Like Ruth E. Renkel says, "Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritances."
When this Miami mother one day passes away, she will leave her children a rich inheritance. Maybe not a pile of money, but she will leave them an example of a life of integrity and self respect, an example of what it is like to be painted with a different brush. She will leave them something far more important than wealth.
If her children inherit her values, anything else is just money.
Paint them fortunate.
-- Steve Goodier
image: flickr.com/Daniela Nobili