The following is from the novel, IF TIGERS WERE ANGELS, as Ben, protagonist, has to deal with the realities of life.
…I sat drowning in my sorrow thinking poor little me. Then a story my father once told me when I was a young boy came to mind. It’s a story about a father teaching his son a lesson. It’s titled “The Hundred” and he even gave me a copy of the story.
Son, pretend you have a quarter in your right pocket and a hundred dollar bill in your left.
I tell you to give the money to me so I can keep it safe for you, but instead of obeying me, you go outside to play and have a good time.
You’re busy running, jumping and tumbling with your friends. You’re foot loose and fancy free, without a care in the world.
In fact, you’re on top of the world because you have a hundred dollar bill and a quarter in your pockets. It’s the exact amount of money you need to go buy yourself that fancy new toy you’ve been dreaming about for so long. You’ve been saving a quarter a week for years and tomorrow will be the best day of your life. You’re going to the store to buy that toy and make your dream come true.
Then, you come back inside after a long day playing in the yard and reach into your right pocket, but the quarter isn’t there. You think, no big deal, so I lost a quarter. You think, I can get another quarter easily in another week and then I will buy the toy.
You reach into your left pocket and find that the hundred dollar bill isn’t there either. Now you panic. You run into the yard searching everywhere for that hundred dollar bill because it means so much to you.
You search for hours because you know you can’t easily replace a hundred dollars. Now, you can’t go buy the toy you’ve been saving for all this time. You realize that it will be many years before you‘ll have that much money again.
You ask yourself why you didn’t give your money to Dad to keep it safe. You kick yourself and you hit rock bottom. Your life, as you know it, is over. You can’t get any lower than you are at that moment.
You now have two choices. Put your big boy pants on and find a way to earn another hundred and a quarter as fast as you can, or sit there crying about it like a baby for the rest of your life.
What are you going to do?”
“But Dad, there’s a third choice. You can just give me another hundred dollar bill and a quarter and I can still go buy my toy.”
The dad looked down at his son, slid his glasses to the end of his nose, and replied, “Wrong! Good try little buddy, but that’s not one of your choices. I’ll give you an “A” for your thought process, but I won’t replace your hundred dollars for disobeying me. You must learn that there are no bailouts in life. You have to suck it up and move on or cry about it the rest of your life. Those are your only choices!”
At the time he told me the story, I replied, “If I was that little boy, I’d suck it up and move forward. I’m not gonna cry about it for the rest of my life.” It was years later that my father told me that the little boy in “The Hundred” was actually him. He had written it so he would always remember that his decisions had consequences. He never told me what he did, but I think I know the answer.
My father was right back then and I learned my lesson from that little story. If I ever mess up, I know there are no bailouts in life. Well, I messed up and lost my hundred when I lost my Grace. Now, I have to put my big boy pants on and move forward because I’m not going to cry about it for the rest of my life.
At that moment, I decided I had to start rebuilding my life. I’d hit bottom and was going to start looking forward to better times ahead. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I also knew it couldn’t get any worse. Once you lose what’s near and dear to you, nothing else matters. You’re willing to try anything at that point and the risks are diminished by the magnitude of your new goal. I was ready to start living again and was determined to keep moving forward. I have many things to do before I stop to rest.
I got up the next morning with a renewed spirit, a new sense of worth, and the desire to make myself be the best person I could be. The chains of my anchors had been broken and I would start becoming the new me. I had faced the lions in the den and had been victorious, and nothing was going to stop me. I feared no evil and thanked God for guiding me through the valley of the shadow of death. I looked behind me and now saw two sets of footprints. I was walking on my own two feet and God was walking beside me, holding my hand.
“The Hundred” presents a life lesson for many people in the world today who need to understand and accept the concept that their actions do have consequences. There will not always be someone around to bail you out in life.
Tom Tatum – Author – 2018
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum
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