I didn’t expect to find a rock in my dad’s closet.
White socks? Sure
White underwear? Of course
Gray rock? A bit of a surprise.
When I was younger, I snooped around the house a lot. I have vivid memories of seeing how long I could move from room to room without being seen by my parents, creeping up on the cat, and (of course) scaring the daylights out of my little brother.
It was this kind of behavior that landed me in a messy pile of undergarments, wondering if growing up meant storing stones in my pockets.
Curiosity getting the better of my desire to remain unseen, I grabbed my treasure and rushed into the living room where my dad was sitting. He took the rock from my hand, smiled, and told me the story.
Turns out, the rock had been hurled through his window once upon a time. He and my mother returned to their new home to find shattered glass covering the carpet. The intruders made out with a VCR, some random equipment my dad brought home from work, and a couple other goods that were easy to carry.
I couldn’t understand why dad kept the rock after all these years. Why keep an object that clearly carried awful memories? Why move with it to 3 different houses?
His answer was simple:
“I keep it to remind me people are more important than things.”
You see, although the burglars stole plenty of fairly expensive things, Dad reminded me of the fact he and mom could have been home at the time. What turned out to be a petty theft could have been much worse.
I’m reminded of this lesson almost constantly these days. In this culture, people often take a back seat.
We love our stuff.
We name our cars.
We worship work.
We pray at the altar of productivity.
We use busy as a status symbol.
Who has time for people?
There is one critical flaw in this order of priorities: Your desk won’t make it to your funeral. Neither will your Facebook account. In fact, unless you are very close, your boss probably won’t either.
When you close your eyes for the last time, the only remnants of a life once lived will be a box, varying in size and style, and the people you affected positively.
The devices, the couches, the houses, the cars, and the appliances will all be mysteriously absent.
Every second you spend is an investment in your future.
Will the return on that investment be full of things?
Or full of people?