In People Stuff

We’re waiting for the tow truck to pick up my car which developed a coolant leak of unknown origin.

Three of us are waiting. Brooke and I and Bentley the Boxer Dog. We rescued Bentley about a month ago from a bad living situation.

Bentley the Boxer Dog

Bentley the Boxer Dog

The tow truck pulls up just as a guy wearing a San Diego Chargers jersey leaves his family in the car and runs up to us. He asks about Bentley then proceeds to offer us $500 to breed Bentley with his female Boxer dog. Turns out black and white boxers like Bentley are at a premium.

I wonder about the offer till I glance down and see the money folded in his hand. He goes on about how long he’s been looking for a dog like ours. And how valuable the puppies are if they’re black and white.

That’s when I tell him we had Bentley fixed three weeks ago.

“Oh”, he says wistfully. “That’s too, bad.”

In that moment all I could think of was Forrest Gump. “I’m not a smart man, Jenny.”

I mentioned this incident on Facebook only to have someone say, “Black and white boxer pups are going for $1,500 to $2,000. We’re looking for one right now.”

I’m not a smart man, Jenny.

The thing about not realizing what you have is that you usually realize it too late. We read these stories in the news. The old painting at the garage sale that turns out to be worth a million. The old vase that you gave away and later discover while watching the Antiques Roadshow that it was older than you thought. 150 years and worth $20,000.

Had I known what we had in Bentley, we could have paid for the car repairs. And, depending on what genes prevailed, a nice vacation trip. But we didn’t realize what we had.

Dogs and paintings and vases. We lose money when we don’t realize what we have. But it makes me wonder about other parts of life.

When we don’t realize what we have…

In our spouse, we take them for granted. A lesson learned too late by many a widow and widower.

In our children, we miss priceless moments we’ll never get back.

In our home, we spend time wishing for bigger and better instead of appreciating what God has given us.

In our family, we fail to make purposeful memories and traditions for future generations.

In our friends, we miss the richness of doing life together. Shoulder to shoulder in community.

In our jobs, we miss chances to grow and learn and develop for the next level.

In our opportunities, we end up with regrets instead of accomplishments.

In our God, we miss out on the essence of life; our unique life purpose as designed by our creator. Not to mention the deepest joy and fulfilment we can experience this side of heaven.

We can’t possibly know everything there is to know about what paintings, vases and dogs are going for a premium. But we can begin to understand the value of all that we have right here and right now by the simple act of being thankful for it all. To be grateful to God for every part of our life, even the parts that are difficult and don’t make sense. It’s all for a purpose. For our good and His glory.

All good gifts come from God. He wants us to appreciate them. And enjoy them to the full.

My car still isn’t fixed.

But my dog is.

I’m not a smart man, Jenny.

But I’m trying to get smarter. And more thankful.

Maybe there’s an old painting somewhere in the garage.

“I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly…”

– Jesus Christ  (John 10:10)

Todd A. Thompson – March 4, 2013

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