Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Sad Story

An old man who had lost his wife and was quite frail had two sons who were too busy with their own affairs to care for him. The newsletter for priests recounts the 
sad story.

One day he went to a carpenter and asked him to make a wooden box, and to be sure it looked old and worn on the outside. He filled the box with broken glass, closed the lid, securing it with a large lock, and put it under his bed.

The two sons, on seeing the box for the first time were filled with curiosity. When the father was not home they took the box and, not being able to open it because of the lock, shook it. The glass pieces gave out a clanking sound that they took to be money the father had been saving over the years. From then on, the sons took turns spending time with their father.

When the father died, the sons with great anticipation opened the box only to find it was not filled with the money they expected. The older son in a fit of anger blurted: "I was deceived." Seeing the younger son staring at the box, he said, " Do you want the box? Take it." The young son stood there for some time, tears coming to his eyes. He took the box and went home.

"The branches of a tree, although wanting to remain still, must contend with the wind that does not rest. Children want to honor their father, but he does not wait." The younger brother remembered this old saying. He believed that taking possession of the box would be a way of remembering  his father and reverencing his memory. His wife did not see any need to keep the broken glass, so he removed the glass, and saw at the bottom of the box a small piece of paper. He read the words on the paper and broke down with uncontrollable sobbing, which brought the whole family into the room. These were the words his father had written:

"When I had my first son, I was happy. I cried. When the second son was born, it was so good I laughed. From that time on, for over 30 years, many thousands of times--no,  many ten thousands of times-- they made me cry with joy, and laugh. Now I am old, and when the change came I do not know. But they changed. Now they make me cry, but not with joy, and make me laugh, but not because it is good.

"I am alone now. What is left to me is only a remembrance. In the beginning, it was a pearl-like remembrance. Years later it was remembering the happiness of pain that bent my back. Now what I remember is like the shreds of broken pottery, the fragments of glass.
"Please, in your old age do not be like me. In God's goodness do not be like me!"

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