Be careful what you wish for
There was once a stonecutter who was very happy with his life and work. He had a wonderful family whom he loved; he made a good living cutting and preparing stone for beautiful buildings.
Then one day he delivered a piece of stone to a merchant. The merchant owned many lavish possessions. The stonecutter began to feel he was missing out on something in his life. “I wish I were a merchant with such fine things,” the stonecutter thought to himself.
Amazingly, the stonecutter’s wish came to be. Suddenly he was a merchant who wore fancy clothes and lived in a beautiful home. His shop was filled with ornate trinkets and fine goods. The onetime stonecutter thought that life couldn’t get any better – until he saw the prince passing through town.
Then he began thinking that to be of noble birth would be much better than being a simple merchant. And so it came to be: He found himself dressed in royal garb, sitting atop a fine stallion, parading through the village. But under the hot sun and heavy clothing, he grew weary and cranky.
The stonecutter-merchant-prince thought that if he were the sun, he could have a profound effect on the entire universe. So he became the sun. And it was wonderful – until a cloud blocked his rays from getting to the land.
So he wished to be a cloud to bring rain to water the earth. And so he became a cloud. He found himself looming over a desolate mountain valley. He showered the area day and night, creating lakes and rivers. In time, sprigs of life began to sprout up on the landscape. But the mountain itself remained immovable and unchanged. It was solid and more powerful than his cloud.
So the cloud wanted, instead, to be the mountain. And so he became the mountain. For a while the mountain was happy to be such a powerful presence – until a young stonecutter came along and began to chisel away at him. And the mountain wished to be a stonecutter again.
It is easy in life, to give into the temptation to regret what we do not have, instead of focusing on what we do have. Each one of us has been given much by God, as the Samaritan in the Gospel today realizes.
A Faith centered attitude of thankfulness does not argue that we deserve better but understands that we have been gifted, and our God asks that we be as generous with our gifts as God has been in giving us, light and water, shelter and food, family and friends, work and free time, life itself.
Let this day also be a moment for giving thanks not only for what we have been given but for the individuals in our life who have given to us.
Finally, in a world in which we are too often reminded of the “bad stuff” going on, let this be a moment where we focus on the good stuff.
A blessed thanksgiving to all!
Image: “StoneCutters” by chadada is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.