The story went something like this: A young hardworking man dedicated much of his life to his business. He often told his wife that once things would take off, they would build the life they’d always wanted. They made plans and dreamt of vacations around the world, large homes, and no expense too large. With every year that passed, the man grew his business. He worked long hours and on occasion even slept in the office. He began to reap the benefits and as his wife would ask him to take some time off to spend with her, he would dismiss her by saying their time would come. After all, things were too busy now…business was too good to leave. Years passed and his wife grew weary. She often heard that “once things would settle,” life would be much easier. But things would never settle. And more would never be enough.
The stress was taking a huge toll on the man’s body and after suffering a mini heart attack, he was told to slow down. After a brief time, the businessman was informed that all of a sudden, without any explanation or reasoning, his business began taking off. The demand became great and before anyone knew it, the man was back in the office, once again sealing deals and putting in those long hours. Excitedly, he came home to tell his wife that they were finally on their way… that all his work was at last, beginning to pay off. That their dream life was about to come true. But the man didn’t know that the life she’d always wanted was far different from the life her husband grew to want. That night, the man’s life was taken by a massive heart attack. As the funeral came, many successful business people paid their respects. Words like entrepreneur, innovator, business leader, and hard worker, floated around the room to describe this man’s life. His “inspirational” story was published in the likes of the NY Times and Forbes magazine. After reading this man’s story, scholars and theologians realized that a large lesseon seemed to have been missed by many. And so it was added to the story that on the night of the funeral, when all the people went home and the man was buried, an angel of God entered the cemetery. Unheard and unseen by anyone, he walked over to the grave and with his finger carved a single word that God had chosen to sum up this man’s life. That word was fool.
Harsh as this may seem, the man had spent all of his time and all of his energy on something he so desperately thought he needed. In the process, he neglected his family and failed to see that life just never settles down. That in fact, more is never enough. When I first heard this story, an overwhelming feeling of sadness came over me. Sadness of time wasted…love lost…life unlived. But the more I thought about his story and how celebrated financial success is, the more I realized what fools we all can be. We make ourselves believe that making a living is more important than making a life. We convince ourselves that once we have that promotion, once we get that bigger house, once we gain the respect of our colleagues, things will slow down and we’ll have more time for the things that really matter in life. I’m just as guilty of this as the guy in the story. I wanted to share this with you all as a reminder to not become so consumed with success and the things of the world, that we lose focus of what’s really important. To realize that though we can plan for most everything in life, we can never plan for leaving this world. And once we’re gone, what will be said of us? What word will be used to describe our life? I know this post was more somber than usual but I felt the need to share. And to remind myself that more will never be enough.