When you think of an individual’s worth; do you naturally default to thoughts of their wealth or the position they hold? Have you ever thought that there is too much attention in society placed on our personal worth relating to money? This is a rhetorical question we all have the answer too, yet I want to use this to create a setting for a real life story want to share.
There is a man living today who is alive for one simple reason; someone acknowledged him at the lowest point of his life. Here is a real story (using my interpretation) of a father who found his real value at a time he felt no worth!
Life was good; graduating top of class had opened many doors for highly desired employment. He had just recently been married. Work required long hours, but these hours were given freely as no other peers had the fortune of working in a similar environment. Too, time was available because he and his wife hadn’t started their family yet.
Promotions came early and often as the field of industry was a natural to this young student of business. Family life started when two children were brought into the world as this couple began climbing their ladders of success. A simple apartment became a new home in the suburbs and one car became two, etc.
As business acumen grew, feelings of operating a sole propriety became a reality. It seemed as though money just flowed through the doors for the new business. Their home became a mansion with over 17,000 sq ft of pure luxury. Life was good, there were sports cars, toys, trips, and most anything money could buy.
Family life was good as well; the children were receiving top notch educations, playing on well coached teams, and obtaining instruction in music from the finest educators. There was a feeling that nothing could go wrong and that life was pretty fantastic. Simply put, what else could anyone need?
Debates of growing the business internationally vs. early retirement were often on the mind of this man. Then an unseen, mile high, two mile thick, brick wall was placed right in the middle of their road in life. Not only was there an immediate and complete stop of cash flow, but a complete draw down on all capital as well.
Finding a heart full of fear, he was stumped on what the next move could possibly be. Calls were made, advice given, and business decisions made. Nothing, not a single thing could be done! The business was closed and all assets were to be sold.
Near the end, standing alone in horror and wondering what to do next. This husband and father found comfort in suddenly realizing he had his life insurance; it was a very large policy too. He began to entertain thoughts of “My greatest worth to my family is to end my life; leaving for them the fulfillment of living off this policy.”
He was wise enough to understand that suicide invalidated the policy, so he began to plot his own demise. He had a business trip planned where he would wrap up some remaining loose ends. The office where he was going was located in a remote area accessed by driving down long winding roads. The roadway was old and had many mature trees along the roadside; often on blinding turns. He knew that if he veered into a tree, it would appear as though he had lost his bearings and won’t even be scrutinized by the insurance company.
Time came to leave home for the meeting, so he said his good byes to his loved ones. They had obviously known nothing of what he had planned and were causal about his unusually long hugs and farewells.
His meetings were successful with conversations on wrapping up the details of operations. He concluded feeling inside that his last duty on earth was at least one which ended positively. As he got in his car, knowing what was next, and oddly not having much fear; he thought he would stop for one last meal on the way out, sort of a last supper kind-a-thing.
He remembered a diner he was familiar with where he had eaten before. It was on the way and would only take a half hour or so; then his mind wondered to family. The next thing he knew was pulling over, parking the car and walking in. Ordering wasn’t an issue, he knew what he wanted; the dessert! Why not? He will go out with a bang eating a big, nasty, calorie filled, heart stopping, sugar packed Sunday!
As he was finishing his meal, readying for digging into the ice cream when his phone rang. It was home! He thought immediately that he had said his goodbyes and hesitated answering. He wanted to see that everything was okay at home so he answered. It was his loving wife who was on the other end. Hey honey how did the meeting go? She asked. It went well, better than I had thought it would go. Sweetie, please know that everything is now complete with closing down operations.
She thought to herself that this was an odd comment from him, but knew he had been stressed over all that is involved with closing down a large company. Then she said “Tommy wants to say good night to you. Please know we will get through this situation together, don’t lose faith!” Your right, thinking to himself “it wouldn’t be long and the insurance money would be available for her and the children.”
Just then Tommy came on the phone “Daddy where are you?” In Maine big “T” what’s up little man? Will you be home to tuck me in tonight? No, sorry I’m too far away. Oh dang it! Tommy blurted out. Why? Daddy I miss you, I sleep better when you say good night tucking me in cuz I know you’re near. But Mommy is there Tommy and… I know Daddy but we all need you, please hurry home!
This call put this father right back on the seat of the diner with his eyes fully opened! Tommy’s expressions had shocked him into a different world. For the next two hours, while the Sunday melted untouched, he sobbed openly; often being interrupted by the waitress who was soliciting ways to help.
Now he realized in his heart what his true value as a father was. All the material things he provided (and would be available with his life insurance policy) were misplaced feelings of importance. All he could see now was his son growing up without what Tommy called his “Super Hero.” His sense of lifestyle trumping his responsibility of personal worth was outrageous and he knew it. What on earth had come of his ability to see what is important in life?
While things aren’t the same for this family financially; their father eats frozen burritos from Costco for lunch instead of dining out every day as before. The family is together, closer than ever before, built on a strong foundation of understanding values. A new business was started and while money is tight, there is a completely new understanding of what is important in life. He often thinks “Boy that was close; one kind word is all it took.”
Today as we go through life let us remember where our true value is. A dollar, no matter how high it is stacked, will never have the same worth as a single person. Nothing will ever be as meaningful as having each other in any circumstance. Don’t let a minute go by where you aren’t expressing yourself to others openly; let them know what they mean to you. Our greatest assets are our loved ones near; let them know!
This simple real story could save a life, it already has!