Friday, October 06, 2006

The Necklace

My dear friend Chong Tao Fatt (who has dropped his Chinese name in favour of an English one : "Long Hair") sent this story to me - I haven't read this one before and the message is a powerful one. Here's the story, I'll share my experience after ...

The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five.  Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

"Oh mommy please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?"

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face.

"A dollar ninety-five.  That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself.  Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last, she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere, Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath.  Mother said that if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny,

"Do you love me?"

"Oh yes, daddy. You know that I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse from my collection, the one with the pink tail. Remember, daddy? The one you gave me. She's my very favorite."

"That's okay, Honey, daddy loves you. Good night." And, he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"

"Daddy, you know I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh Daddy, not my pearls.  But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."

"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you."  And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"

Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said,

"Here, daddy, this is for you."  

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket, pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls, and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.

So it is, with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasures. Isn't God good? Are you holding onto things that God wants you to let go of?

Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits and activities that you have come so attached to that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand but do believe this one thing. God will never take away something without giving you something better in its place.

Good one eh? Here's my sharing : I once did a training where over 150 participants were playing musical chairs. I noticed that I got knocked out fast because I didn't want to let go of MY chair until I spotted another empty chair. Of course by the time I saw the empty chair, someone else who was closer grabbed it before me - that hit me like a ton of bricks! Being afraid to let go of what little I have showed me that I am not willing to risk, and therefore, I don't move ahead. Being attached to what I have will leave me with just that - what I already have, nothing new.

Now at 95%, what I see is that I still have a tendency to hold on to playing a 'comfortable' game - afraid to take on a bigger challenge cos I'm not willing to risk losing what I already have - like the girl in the story, this is something that I have worked so hard to earn.

Well, I've been getting some explosive coaching from guru besar (grads - you know what I mean, right? You only have him for 8 weeks, he's been wiith me for two years!) and finally I acknowledged that if I keep holding on to the small success that 95% has achieved, that is all I will ever have. It won't grow.

Now am I willing to let go of this small success (fake pearls) and have faith that something bigger (the real pearls) will come along? I don't know if the real pearls are waiting - but I am willing to let go and create space for a new experience. I went to bed deeply troubled one night and woke up realising that even if I don't trust myself, I trust God.

Do I know whether I can do it? I don't know. And I really mean I don't know. It doesn't mean 'I think I cannot'. Like I always tell our grads : if you don't know, do first, then you'll know whether you can or not.

In my case, I trust that God would not put me in this position if I was not ready. And although I don't know the mechanics, my intention is clear - 100% intention to give the best training ever and make a difference to thirty new participants.

Then when I told my still sleeping husband all this - he, still wrapped in his blanket with his eyes still closed, mumbled "You should trust Shahnaz also" and my response was Hhmmmphhh!!!

Ok la, put my pride and fears aside, that guru besar is really a good coach. I am blessed to have him constantly challenging me and constantly believing that I can do all these great things that I can't imagine myself doing. So Shahnaz, if you can be bothered to read my blog (if you can overcome your dislike of reading haha) Thank You!


Anonymous wong said...

There is this quote in some christian book "God will never put you on a situation you can't handle" something like that la... Trusth your ability and GO!!!

Oh yeah... This made me wanted to let my daily habit take off also... Hhmm...

1:07 AM  
Blogger Peter Gan said...

Yes. A powerful story indeed. Just look at the lesson of inculcating the value of money versus a 'want' into a child.

2:19 PM  

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