The Little Letter with the Big Mouth

Joe and Tom were identical twins.  They were so identical that even their mother found it difficult to distinguish one from the other, at least during their initial days on earth.

However, they were very different from each other when it came to everything other than their appearance.  Joe had no friends, while Tom was a great friendship maker.  Joe loved sweets, but Tom loved spicy food and detested sweets.  Joe was mommy’s pet and Tom was daddy’s pet.  While Joe was generous and selfless, Tom was greedy and selfish!

As Joe and Tom grew up, their father wanted to share his fortune equally amongst them.  However, Tom did not agree and he argued that whoever proved to be more intelligent and strong would have to get a bigger share of wealth.

Joe agreed.  Their father decided to organize a competition between the two.  He asked the two sons to walk as long as they could, and return home before sunset.  The wealth would be divided in proportion to the distance covered.  As a rule of competition, they were not permitted to carry a watch to keep track of the time.

The following day, Joe and Tom set out to walk.  It was a rather sunny day.  Sam walked slowly and steadily, while Tom broke into a sprint as he was bent on winning the race and also winning a greater portion of his father’s wealth.

Joe knew that it would be ideal to walk as far as possible till noon and start for home at noon as it would take the same amount of time to walk back home.  Knowing this, Joe decided to turn back for home at noon so as to reach home on time.

However, Tom, with his greed to earn more wealth, did not attempt to return home even after mid-noon.  He walked twice as long as Joe, and thought he would still be able to return home before sunset.  He hurried back when he saw the sun turn orange.  Unfortunately, he could not even make it half way home as the sun started to set.  Slowly darkness engulfed his path and he had to drag his tired feet back home.

He had lost the race.  Only because of his greed.

Granted, this is a children’s story I discovered online, but i still think there’s something in it for everyone.

Greed is one of the biggest reasons why the world is where it is today.  Being selfish and self-absorbed is somehow normal for us.  We need to have the most attention, we need to have the most money, we need to have the nicest truck, we need to own the biggest house, we need to be the best looking, we need to achieve the best score, we need everything to be perfect in our own little lives, not even giving it a second thought how much we could be impacting others’ lives in the mean time.

I hate that it’s so natural for us to act this way.  But we do!  It’s hard to change.  It’s hard to think of anyone but ourselves, and it’s hard not to want everything we see.  It’s hard to be content with what we have, especially when we keep seeing people who seem to have it all.  It’s hard to love these people, because even they are not content with what they have, and you think it’s absurd for them to feel this way, not knowing that someone out there is thinking the exact same thing about you.

Nothing in this life is easy.  Things won’t magically fall into our laps one day, and there will be times when we won’t get what we want or even deserve.  What makes me sad though, is that because of all this, we decide to become greedy and selfish.  We decide that it’s time to take a stand and get what we want.  Why?  Because that’s what it’s all about right?  It’s never about what the other person wants or deserves, it’s about us and our selfish desires.  It’s about our happiness.  It’s about our comfort.  It’s about our reputation.  It’s about us.  And it sucks!

It sucks that we can’t realize that maybe, just MAYBE, life isn’t actually about us.  It sucks that we can’t realize that in order for the world to become a better place, we need to actually put us and our desires aside and pay attention to the needs of others.  It sucks that the one little letter that has the potential of destroying our lives can’t be removed from our minds.  The letter “I”.  I want this, I deserve this, I did this, I have this.

It’s disgusting, it’s appalling, it’s redundant, and it’s time to stop.  If you will take one look at your life, you’ll realize that the one person you think about the most isn’t your mom or your dad or your brother or your sister or your spouse or your kids or your best friend.  It’s you!  It’s not appealing, it’s not cool, it’s not pretty or funny or right.  But it’s us!  It’s the way we were born, right? Please!  The only thing holding you back from becoming a generous and giving person is yourself.

It’s time to stop being the selfish little people we are and start being the giving loving people that God intended us to be.

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